Artistic Wanderings: An Interview with He Baili
Ink artist He Baili (Paklee Ho; b. 1945), who grew up in Hong Kong, celebrated his 70th birthday in 2015 with a retrospective exhibition of his paintings. Titled ‘Meandering through Art in Leisure’, this milestone event was held at Hong Kong City Hall—a venue that holds special meaning for He: he had his first exhibition there at the age of 21. A student of the Lingnan School, as a young artist He began developing a distinctive visual language, merging and combining elements of Western art with those of traditional Chinese painting. While others merging Western and Eastern traditions often focused on design, composition and subject-matter, He’s works emphasize the ‘spirit’, which is so important to Chinese painting. A look at his oeuvre over the past half-century reveals the diversity of his work, and at the age of 70, He is still reinventing and experimenting with new styles and techniques, as seen in his recent series of monumental sunrise paintings. Not long after the retrospective, Orientations met up with him in Hong Kong to talk about his work.