Fan ’09 Wins Medal for Chinese Brush Painting

Jennifer Fan ’09 won the gold and silver medal for the Annual All-American Chinese Brush Painting and Calligraphy Competition, awarded by the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts. The competition received over 360 entries from eight states. According to Fan, the winning painting depicted a crane in front of a background of leaves. The painting that took the silver medal was of a monkey, Fan’s favorite Chinese painting subject. Fan recently invented a new method of drawing monkeys from a head-on perspective. An international student from Hong Kong, Fan said, “I’m really excited for my talent to get recognized, and I hope it will inspire more people to want to learn more about Chinese art.” Fan submitted her work to the competition after receiving encouragement from her mother’s friend, who saw an advertisement in The China Press newspaper. “She encouraged me to participate,” Fan said. “I know that [the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts] has a lot of activities and performances, but I have never been a part of it before.” When Fan saw the results online on March 21, she immediately called her mother, who lives in Hong Kong. Fan said, “It was 2 a.m. in the morning in Hong Kong, but she was really excited as well. I told Mrs. Torabi and some of the other teachers and I was really excited and happy the whole day.” Fan is the president and founder of Ink Oasis, a biweekly club that practices Chinese art on cards, bookmarks and albums. Fan sells each Ink Oasis painting for around $20 to $60 and has dedicated the profits made from painting sales to fund the construction of a medical clinic in the province of Guizhou in rural China. Fan’s goal is to raise the needed $1000 by the end of the school year. The donations are managed by the Amity Foundation, an organization in China in the process of building schools and clinics in 33 provinces. Fan plans to travel to the clinic and hopes to bring Ink Oasis members with her. In addition to the Ink Oasis products, Fan sells her own paintings for $150 to $200, and $300 for some of her larger paintings. Fan also earned over $200 from selling postcards and her first album, titled “Ink Song.” Fan’s next album will be produced in Hong Kong and released in early June. Last Sunday, Ink Oasis and the Andover Philanthropist Society held an event at Starbucks in downtown Andover to display and sell Chinese paintings, postcards and cards created by Ink Oasis. They raised over $600. At Starbucks, “People were just buying out of her catalogues because some of her artwork is still in Hong Kong, and her parents are going to ship it,” said Susanne Torabi, International Student Coordinator Fan is currently working on a website, since many patrons have requested a way to contact her and review her art for future purchase. Torabi said, “I consider myself [Fan’s] manager because she needs help to get out, to get away from campus . . . She has left the Andover bubble. . . She has also connected with the Chinese Painting Guild, a Chinese art association . . . in the greater Boston area.” Fan first began Chinese painting at the age of seven but did not become serious until 11, when she began learning under Master Lam Yat Chi. Fan said, “I normally paint at least for one hour in Hong Kong every day, plus a weekly lesson. But here at Andover, I only paint about two to three times per week.” Carolyn Whittingham ’11, an active member of Ink Oasis, said, “Jen tries to think of new, inventive ways to teach us how to do the art. One time she let us do a landscape with toothbrushes.” Torabi said, “The [goal] for next year is . . .to have a presentation in Stevens Library in North Andover… She also wants to have an auction here in our library, the OWHL, because some faculty members have shown interest.” Torabi continued that Fan has offered to take a group of faculty with the Amity Foundation to the Cave schools, where Fan will volunteer this summer in China. Fan said, “it’s a really beautiful art. It brings peace to me, when I teach. It’s a really good balance for work and stress.” Torabi said, “I saw her talent, and I saw her general humble spirit with her true non-sibi spirit. I saw this in her and I wanted her to show this side of her to the Andover community and she has taken off.