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Chen Jianghong (陈江洪) is a Chinese artist living in Paris . He was born in Tianjin in 1963 . A painter and illustrator, he was trained at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. He lives and works in Paris since 1987. His work is regularly exhibited in France and abroad.
In addition to his work as a painter, he has published numerous albums for young people at the Ecole des loisirs : La légende du cerf-volant (1997), I Will not Cry (1998), Dragon of Fire(2000) , Zhong Kui (2001), Little Eagle (2003), The Han Gan Horse (2004), Lian , The Tiger Prince (2005), The Forest Demon (2006) and Mao and Me (2008). In this autobiographical album, Chen Jianghong recounts his childhood in China during the Cultural Revolution . With much sobriety and emotion, it traces both the life of his family and one of the most vertiginous and frightening periods of contemporary history.
School Library Journal Starred Review. Grade 5–8—When the Cultural Revolution began, the author was a three-year-old living in a northern city. Cared for by his grandparents, he and his two sisters led a quiet, orderly life. His older sister, whom he describes as a deaf mute, taught her siblings to sign and Hong to draw. One day they heard on the radio that Mao had declared a Cultural Revolution, and life began to change. The text tells a straightforward story of the years between 1966 and 1976, while the illustrations shed a strong light on these years through the eyes of one child. Hong's world is presented in various shades of khaki, beige, and gray with color often used to draw viewers' eyes to the individuality of the people, or, in the case of red, to the dominance of the Communist party. The illustrations are full of the details of everyday life: how to make dumplings, the foods they could buy with ration tickets, life in the schoolroom, and the furnishings in the family apartment. But above all, the pictures, with their intense black line drawings, convey strong emotion-the almost inhuman face of a Red Guard who inspects their apartment, Hong crying in bed as his father packs to leave for re-education in the country, his grandmother's sadness when her husband dies and, later, when the Red Guards slaughter her beloved chickens. This powerful work joins Song Nan Zhang's A Little Tiger in the Chinese Night: An Autobiography in Art (Tundra, 1995) and Ange Zhang's Red Land, Yellow River: A Story from the Cultural Revolution (Groundwood, 2004) on a growing list of outstanding memoirs about the era.—Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA
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