The master calligrapper from Guangzhou, who was born and raised in China, has spoken out about the challenges he faces when he is unable to work in China due to his disabilities.
Zhang Cheng, a 24-year-old Chinese calligraphy master, was born in Guangzhou in 1989 and lives with his parents in Wuhan, a city in south-western China’s Hubei province.
His parents also work as calligriphers.
“I want [to] work in a country where I can learn from the calligrashers of the world and live in comfort,” Zhang said.
The calligrammer from Guangdong province is a prolific calligraphic artist who is considered one of the best in China and has won numerous awards including the World Calligraphean Award for Excellence in Calligraphy and the Calligraphic Medal of the International Society of Calligraphists.
But the calligraphist’s life in China has not always been easy.
Zhao Jing, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said Zhang has been discriminated against by Chinese authorities, as well as by some of his own colleagues.
“He has been banned from working with any Chinese artist and has also been banned by the Ministry of Education for four years,” Zhao said.
Zhu Jinyoung, a calligraphy specialist at Shanghai Wuhu University, added that Zhang’s experience was a reminder that “people with disabilities in China face many barriers”.
“The calligraphists of China face difficulties and they have to deal with the constant pressure and discrimination,” she said.
“If you’re disabled, you can’t learn.
If you’re a foreigner, you have to prove your Chinese nationality to get an education.”
Zhang said he does not expect to return to China soon.
“I’m hoping to work abroad soon,” he said.