Gates: Spirit of a City

Watercolour and Oil Paintings of Weizhi Zhang

April 29 - June 24, 2011

Opening Reception: Meet the Artist, Beijing Artist-Weizhi Zhang Will Be in Attendance, April 29 (Fri), 3pm - 6pm

Art Beatus (Vancouver) Consultancy Ltd. is pleased to present, “Gates: Spirit of a City” featuring watercolour and oil paintings by “Weizhi Zhang”.  As part of China’s urbanization, many historical courtyard gates, old city walls, and hutongs have been rapidly replaced by high-rise buildings and facilities in Beijing. The destruction of the historical, cultural and artistic element to these sites provoked artist, Weizhi Zhang to paint a series of the old gates, preserving his homeland’s culture and Chinese history while capturing his memories of Old Beijing.  The exhibition opens with a public reception on Friday, April 29, 2011 from 3pm to 6pm and Art Beatus is delighted to have the artist, Weizhi Zhang from Beijing, in attendance.

Zhang began his journey in 2001, documenting Beijing’s hutongs (a network of small alleyways that lead to courtyard houses) through his paintings.  The grandiose and highly ordered layout of imperial Beijing and the vernacular fabric of a city built upon a thousand years of history are wonders of human culture.  The hutongs illustrate the city’s evolution and are a living museum that holds the clues to an enduring way of life.  The most elaborate of Chinese dwellings are Beijing’s quadrangle courtyards; their ethnological character and variations of style are of significant historical value and the pinnacle of Oriental architecture.

But the architecture isn’t the only casualty of modernization in Beijing; the loss of the soul and spirit of the city, the scenery that touches the heart has an everlasting impact on its people, “With today’s massive economic changes, the ever-increasing pace of urbanization, and the recent overhaul of the city, the old city gates, old city walls, hutongs, and residential courtyards that bear so much historical, cultural, artistic values are vanishing from our sight”.

Using watercolour as his primary medium, Zhang preserves Beijing’s culture and history onto canvas in painstaking detail.  His preference to paint the gates rather than entire courtyards is not only because the gates are the most beautiful element, but also because they tend to be the least altered part of the residential courtyards.  The exhibition will feature approximately 13 watercolour works and two new ‘oil on canvas’ paintings, each painting capturing one gate not only accurately, but also bringing the gate, still standing or demolished, back to life.  “Gates: Spirit of a City” featuring the works of “Weizhi Zhang” runs from April 29, 2011 to June 24, 2011.

Art Beatus, with a location in Vancouver, Canada and two locations in Hong Kong, showcases international art with a focus on contemporary Chinese art.  Art Beatus (Vancouver) is located in the Nelson Square Office Tower at 108 – 808 Nelson Street in Vancouver, BC.

Art Beatus (Vancouver) Consultancy Ltd. is open Monday to Friday, 10am-6pm and is closed on weekends and holidays.  Underground and street parking is available.  Free admission.

For more information, please contact Media Relations, Tamla Mah or Peggy Ngan by email: or telephone: 604-688-2633. 

Prince Gong's Palace Garden
Beijing Qian Hai Xi Jie No. 17

Maestro Qi Baishi's House
Beijing Kua Che Hutong No.13