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15:16 Jan 20 2012

Photo album of TibetSpecial ReportMedia Voice
English>>Tibet Online
Painter and Tibetan mastiff (2)
15:06, January 20, 2012  

The Beijing show displays more than 120 works, most of which are on loan from collectors from around the world.

"Lin not only paints a unique subject matter that arouses widespread interest but also does so with passion," Sichuan TV Station producer Liu Ling says.

"That might be why people from different backgrounds love his works."

Her documentary The Call, which tells the story of Lin and his "Tibetan mastiff friends", won a Golden Panda Award at the 10th Sichuan International TV Festival in 2009.

Lin says he is surprised by the acclaim.

His goal after graduating from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1987 was to become a portrait painter.

"I would have ended up being a mediocre portraitist if I hadn't visited Aba," he says.

Lin was captivated by colorful ethnic cultures and decided to dwell among them to discover inspiration.

His encounter with the mastiff occurred on his first night in Aba and led him to devote his life to depicting these "lion-like dogs".

Italian adventurer Marco Polo described the mastiff as being as "tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion".

Lin travels throughout the Tibetan settlements of Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces and the Tibet autonomous region every year to photograph the people and their dogs.

The artist says he is most captivated by the mastiff's "loyalty to its owner, strong sense of duty and courage in the face of danger".

Owning one has nurtured a deeper understanding of the creatures, he says.

"The more I learn about this noble breed, the more I admire them," he says.

"I strive to paint mastiffs with emotional appeal."

He accomplishes this by using massive canvasses, tiny details and rough wilderness backdrops.

In Always by Your Side, Lin depicts a tearful mastiff sitting among earthquake ruins in Qinghai province's Yushu prefecture.

"The inspiration wasn't just my imagination," he says.

"In Yushu, I was told stories about mastiffs saving quake victims and shedding tears for those who didn't survive."

After its Beijing debut, Lin's solo exhibition travels to Paris and New York.

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