Zhou Qian: Life of Blooming

Speech by Zhou Qian at Campus Opening Ceremony in 2014 at Duke Kunshan University.

It is a great honor to be invited to speak at the Duke Kunshan University (DKU) campus opening ceremony. As you know, I am more accustomed to speaking through my paintings.

First of all, I’d like to thank Mr. Chen Jingfeng, General Manager of Shanghai DaZhong Public Utilities Group. It was through Mr. Chen that I got to know DKU.

When I created “Blooming of Life” for DKU, I incorporated the artistic conception of Chinese ink painting into the western canvas, symbolizing the educational and cultural integration between China and the U.S. I made the Chinese translation of Duke University’s motto “Knowledge in the Service of Society” as the background. I used Duke Blue and DKU Green, two colors I really like. I painted pink to represent the young and promising DKU scholars who are brave, enterprising, pioneering and innovative. The lemon-yellow dotted peaks in the distant view imply the mountain of knowledge to be climbed. It was a pleasant surprise when I found the vibrant colors in my painting are in lovely agreement with the brightly-colored sofas scattered around the Academic Building. What an amazing coincidence!

For arts projects, in addition to skills, it is more important to demonstrate creativity and bridge communication between people. In fact, the highest level of everything we do can be called an art, only different tools. What I hold in my hand as tools are my brushes and canvases, while your tools can be your knowledge in finance, education, healthcare, management, politics, etc.

For 13 years from 2001 till now, I have made donations to Shanghai Charity Fund. This year is undoubtedly the most memorable year for me, because I have donated my largest painting ever, together with the largest number of my works, to display in DKU, totaling 112 pieces. My 40th birthday is 47 days away. Chinese people consider 40 as an age when one no longer suffers from perplexities, meaning one should be mature enough not to be tempted. Here I would like to say “thank you” to DKU, because I have improved myself and given myself the best birthday present ever after knowing DKU, as I have gained a deeper understanding of the profound significance of giving to others and giving back to society.

Finally, I wish DKU a future as bright as the vibrant colors in my paintings!