I met Nial O’Connor back in 06 when we were still running Da>Space gallery, he came in with his sketchbooks and we were stunned by his beautiful flowing visual style. Influenced by Graffiti, Irish Celtic, cartoon art, with a touch of psychedelic. His work is fresh, fun and visually stimulating. He was a children’s football coach back then with drawing as his lifetime passion. We’ve been friends since then, Nial is one of the most enthusiastic and pure person I have met.

Today it brings a tear to my eyes to see “Shanghai through the lens of his pencil”.

“Shanghai can be a visually overwhelming city. Drawing it forces me to slow down and delight in the richness of its detail – magazine at a newsstand, a traffic warden, tea flask, duct tape around a rusty drain pipe etc. After observing such elements, I am free to stylize, reconfigure, omit and accentuate them as I rebuild my own scene. The aim of this series is to give the viewer something intimately familiar, and yet the impression of seeing it for the first time.”
– Nial O’ Connor (aka Zeldz Magnoonis)

Shanghai 8:60am by Liao Yang

Shudra, by Wang Chao.
The exhibition also showcases two young Chinese artists’ work, Wang Chao from Jiang Xi was the youngest one. Born in 1985, he is still doing his final year in China Academy of Arts majoring in traditional Chinese painting. Wang Chao named his work “ Shudra” (the lowest form of the four Varnas, Hinduism categorizes the people into four “Varnas”), Shudras were essentially rural labours who served the three higher ranking of Varnas. The Shudra series is comprised of mixed media pieces and animation which shows his interpretation and confrontation of hierarchy in the modern China city. One’s status in society determines whether you will be prosperous in respect, wealth and rights.

Wang Chao told me he’s opening up his own studio doing animation and drawings with fearless confidence, his optimistic view made me feel sorry for my jaded self yet relived he’s not going to waste his talent in some rubbish 4A advertising company in order to climb the conventional social ladder.

We all sat down for a spicy meal at Di Sui Dong…