[Interview] Blind Artist Hei Tian Shuo: God Opened the Eyes of My Heart(Part 2)

Heitian Shuo
Heitian Shuo
By Grace ZhiMay 8th, 2017

Editor's note: Geng Jiayong, born in 1959, lost his sight in 1995 due to too much painting work. Later influenced by his mother, he began to know Christianity and he then he converted, confidence gradually restored and his art work resumed after that. In recent years, he has produced many ceramics, paintings and calligraphies. He gave himself a stage name "Hei Tian Shuo." "Hei Tian" means the dark the blind are in. "Shuo" (Chinese character "烁") consists of "huo" (or fire) and "le" (or happy) symbolizing that blind people are happy when they touch God.

The previous interview with Hei Tian Shuo (Blind Artist Chosen by God after Losing Sighttalked about how he was chosen by God after losing his eyesight and when he began to attend the church where God prepared a gentle wife for him.

China Christian Daily: It was said that you "heard" your wife. Can you share some details?

Hei Tian Shuo: Yes, I "heard" my wife. Most people fall in love at first sight. However, Hearing is my "eye" which helps me accept new things after I became blind. I heard a different voice from a girl in several (church) services. I loved the weak voice that hit my heart and I needed it at my side. I prayed to God, hoping that this voice could come upon my home.

One day, someone knocked at my door. It was the voice I called for and loved. Her name is Wu Qian, and she was followed by her younger sister. Excited, I hesitated and finally proposed to her. After a while, she said yes, agreeing to marry me. At that moment, I felt that all the world was lit.

God gave me Wu Qian, this sincere and gentle girl, in 1996 and we got married on May 18. Despite experiencing poverty, my wife willingly built a family with me.

Wu Qian
Wu Qian(wife of Hei Tian Shuo) (credit: Hei Tian Shuo)

My work is credited to my wife who became my eyes. She helps me search for online information and sort the tool boxes for painting. She observes the thermometer on the kiln when I produce ceramics. She is also the first reader for my novels.

We often go out for a walk. Taking a camera, I take snapshots of her in scenery, leaving her smiling in pretty scenes. People wonder how I take a picture since I can't see. My answer is that I 'see' my wife with my ears rather than my eyes.

China Christian Daily: You also write books besides drawing and making ceramics. What do art and faith mean to you?

Hei Tian Shuo: It stands to reason that I'm best in oil paintings because I majored in that at the China Academy of Art. I thought that I could no longer paint after losing my sight. However, it turned out to be not so bad as I pessimistically supposed. After becoming a Christian, I have learned to use the eyes of my heart, which see things better and further than the naked eye. I did not only pick up oil painting I'm good at, but i also dared to draw wash painting. I started to make sculptures and ceramics and to write a book, which I had never done before. In addition, I continued to try new approaches and ideas to express my images.

I never thought that I could write a book because writing was my worst subject in school. Joseph S. Blatter, who seved as the president of The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, declared to the world in Beijing that football originated in Linzi District of Shandong, China. Hearing the news, I immediately commenced writing "The Kickball King," a long historical novel published by the China Federation of Literary and Art Press in 2007. It won a local literary prize.

Heitian Shuo's book,
"The Kickball King" by Hei Tian Shuo

In 2001, I created a giant oil painting entitled "The 2008 Beijing Olympic Flame" for Beijing's bid for the Olympics with the length of 20 meters and the width of 30 meters. It was accepted by the Beijing Olympic Games Bidding Committee and listed as a permanent collection in China Sports Museum.

"The 2008 Beijing Olympic Flame"

In 2002, "Yuanyuan", the fox I designed, was adopted as the mascot of the seventh China International Children's Film Festival held in Zibo. There were five days left for submissions when I learnt the submission deadline. Thank God who gave me wisdom. It took me just five days from the design to cutting the work out with scissors.

It is God who opened the eyes of my heart that I have such achievements. These eyes give the direction, foundation, new life and new artistic language to my ideas. The Bible claims, "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. " (Isaiah 42:16)

China Christian Daily: How did you get to the name "Hei Tian Shuo"? Was there any special experience or story behind this name?

Hei Tian Shuo: God chose me, the sinner, from the dark dust when I felt hopeless in darkness after going blind. I came before God to pray so that I could see. Hallelujah and thank God. He allowed me see, He who closed the door of the naked eye but opened the eye to spiritual wisdom. The spiritual light illuminates my heart that sees the direction I should take. It is written: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

After I became blind, God didn't let me feel ashamed because of my blindness. Give thanks to God for opening my heart. I didn't see when I had vision, but I do see now when I lose sight.

China Christian Daily: Have you ever blamed God for your blindness? How did you treat these difficulties in your life?

Hei Tian Shuo: Nobody can avoid complaints because complaining is human nature. The complaint stems from what humans are -- sinners, from Adam until now. 

One experiences spring, summer, autumn and winter during his life. Whether you like it or not, you will have to go through all of them. Don't expect that we encounter few difficulties after following Jesus than unbelievers, because hard circumstances can temper one's will. Don't be discouraged or frustrated for the adversity can make one more mature and experienced.The Scripture has said, "A righteous man may have many troubles." (Psalm 34:19)

China Christain Daily: You have thrown a lot into charity work and public service. What do you think about other Christians' efforts in charity?

Hei Tian Shuo: Charity work has been a vital part of my life. Christians should do more good things in the most demanding aspects for the nation and people, because God's will is to love your neighbour as yourself. So I will join in charitable activities when invited by whoever, as long as they are beneficial to the country and national unity.

I was invited by President Bian to participate in the establishment ceremony of the fund for the care of AIDS patients of Shanghai Charity Foundation on Dec. 1, 2015, the World AIDS Day. I also attended the banquet, including the appreciation of donated artistic works and the bazaar. I donated a wash painting named "Love and Life" to the banquet.

I also made a painting entitled "Rainbow" on the National Day of Assisting Disabled Persons (which falls on the third Sunday of each May) in May 2016, hoping that all the disabled in China can live abundantly.

China Christian Daily: What works should we expect from you in the future?

Heitian Shuo: I don't dare say that there will be anticipated works. Instead, all I can say is that I will live every day to its fullest by insisting on listening to the Bible, drawing, making pottery and writing. Here are two paintings that have been not exhibited: "Portrait of Adam in Profile" and "Portrait of Eve in Profile". I'm going to exhibit them this year. 

"Portrait of Adam in Profile"


"Portrait of Eve in Profile"

People are accustomed to see a portrait in a front view and influence a person's five senses. They can't see the other side when they look at a portrait in profile. While it doesn't mean the inexistence of the side makes a painting incomplete, which still remains intact, people have names to equal in the faces they see. The portraits in profile I paint don't have the five senses and there are incomplete names on the images. I don't write a Chinese character with just one color. The structure of each character is arranged with different kinds of color, which reinforces the artistic effect of that image. 

Translated by Karen Luo

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