Fang Ningshu (Painter)
Ningshu Fang was born in Shanghai in 1979, the first year of China’s One Child Policy. Her parents went to work in an impoverished town in Anhui
province, leaving Fang with her grandparents in Shanghai in the hopes that she may have a better life. Raised by her grandmother, an art professor at
Tong Ji University in Shanghai, Fang was brought up with a love for the arts, yet she could not shake the influence and expectations of the traditional
Chinese education system.
Before entering college, Ningshu moved to Japan to be reunited with her parents, who encouraged her to attend language school and leave the arts
behind. She became a Japanese citizen, occasionally visiting her grandmother in Shanghai. It was during one of these visits that Fang met her
future husband. She returned to Shanghai permanently to be with her grandmother, who died at age 93, the same year Fang was engaged.
Now in America with her husband and two children, Ningshu has returned to her art, feeling once again reunited with her grandmother. She holds in her
heart a message her grandmother had written to her on a postcard while they were living worlds apart: “Remember my sweet child, it is never too late to
start something new.”
Ningshu Fang’s work invokes the traditional aesthetics of both China and Japan. At once minimalist and maximalist, subdued and vibrant, Fang’s
work addresses the duality of these cultures. Her pieces are the result of meditative moments that bring her back to the golden days spent with her
grandmother. Using primarily watercolor and delicate brushstrokes, her paintings reflect the casual elegance that she so admired in her grandmother.