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  • Chris McMillan

Artist in wheelchair inspires others facing challenges

China Daily

8th June 2023

Artist in wheelchair inspires others facing challenges

Ling Runzhi, 41, who has used a wheelchair ever since she was 6, listens to an online class about modern Chinese landscape painting with rapt attention.

With a few deft strokes of her paintbrush, Ling skillfully brings to life a black-and-white work of art, adorned with delicate textures and captivating contrasts. Despite the loss of sensation in her lower body from congenital spina bifida, this talented artist refuses to let her physical limitations hinder her creativity.

Ling's art has not only helped her fulfill her own dreams but also offered a window to a broader world for others like her. Through her art, she helps them experience the beauty and wonders of the world on a broader scale.

"There was once a dark phase in my life. My parents were busy with farmwork and my sisters were at school, so I had to stay at home by myself. Constant loneliness and fear were my only companions," said Ling, who is from the village of Bianshan in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province.

During that time, without access to a wheelchair, Ling resorted to sitting on a simple wooden upright chair at home. To maneuver, she would painstakingly edge the chair forward, which often resulted in her hands and legs getting scraped and bruised.

Guided by a supportive sister, Ling learned to read characters. Her sister also purchased a collection of ancient paintings by Chinese women, which helped inspire Ling. "I started to replicate the paintings myself.

Books and the world of painting soon dispelled my gloom," she said.

In 2003, captivated by the intricate and exquisite patterns of embroidery, a signature craft in Guizhou, Ling began to explore the art of conveying traditional elements of Chinese landscape paintings through stitchwork.

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