|Li Yuchuan has been wheelchair bound since 1998, but she has started her life anew through painting and love. (Source China.org.cn )|
When she was in junior high school, Li Yuchuan was hurled down from the fifth floor of a school building by a mentally-ill man. She has been wheelchair bound since then, but she has started her life anew through painting and love.
"Life is really extraordinary. I have experienced a lot of twists and turns, so I am interested in things that exude vitality," Li told China.org.cn.
Born to be a painter
When she was three years old, Li learned traditional Chinese painting. "My mum had to be around, since I was too little then, and I had to stand on a chair, as I was not tall enough to reach the desk." Li said.
She was fond of drawing classes back in primary school. "The time in those classes flew past, but I wished time could go faster in the other classes," she admitted.
When she finished her homework in junior high school, Li would take up a painting brush, even when it was already time to go to bed. "When I was drawing, I felt there was a small but complete world that I could be immersed in."
But Li's mother decided she would not allow Li to study painting further. Li thought at that time that she would never be able to learn to paint during her lifetime, but after her life-changing injury, she could not go to school, so she took painting up again.
When Li was hospitalized in Beijing and her story was reported nationwide, a high school principal in Beijing went to her and admitted her to the school. It was five years since Li had sat in a class. "When the chance came, I thought it was a dream." Li said.
"I just couldn't believe I was able to learn to paint. That was something I was unable to do even before my injury. But then I could."
But even at school, learning to paint was not easy. When the teacher did some sample work and other students went up to the paintings, Li had to wait until other students moved away. "I would listen carefully to what the teacher said and then imagined what the painting was like. I had to learn some ‘survival' tactics. You have to learn to be adaptive." Li said.
Li was admitted by the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2008. Her works have been bought by some significant collectors, along with master painters in China.
"Sometimes people would be curious about how I came to the Central Academy of Fine Arts. They think that people like me should stay in hospital or at home, or learn something that can be done when sitting still. I don't agree. I have been to a lot of places with my classmates. People think it is extraordinary, and I think so too. My life has gone onto a new path. Wonderful things have been unfolding since I started to learn to paint in 2003."