Exhibit the dragons: how security guard’s drawings made him a celebrity

Part-time artist dreams of taking works to exhibitions in Beijing and Shanghai

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 March, 2018, 2:05pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 March, 2018, 3:54pm

A security guard in central China will hold his second solo art exhibition this month, with his drawings of dragons having made him something of a celebrity in Hunan province.

Jiang Shengxi had created more than 200 works featuring all kinds of dragons in his spare time since he started working as a security guard at Hunan University in Changsha, the provincial capital, the Xiao Xiang Chen Bao newspaper reported on Sunday.

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Jiang had been fond of dragons since he was a child, the report said. He drew in a small security booth at the university during the day when he was not busy registering visitors or patrolling the building.

After a solo exhibition of more than 90 drawings at the university library in 2016, Jiang will exhibit more works in his home city of Huaihua, in western Hunan, late this month.

“This is something I would never even dare to imagine before,” Jiang was quoted as saying. “I hope I can start my own art studio in the future and make a living from drawing.”

Jiang said he had turned down people who wanted to buy his drawings after the first exhibition because he did not want to have fewer drawings for future shows.

“My dream is to take my works to exhibitions in Beijing and Shanghai, but I do not know when it will be realised,” he said.

Born into a poor family in a mountain village in Huaihua, Jiang worked in construction and as a street vendor in Changsha before becoming a security guard at the university 13 years ago.

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Chen Feihu, an architecture professor at the university and the vice-president of the Hunan Artists’ Association, discovered Jiang’s talent and offered him guidance on drawing.

“The meaning of [Jiang’s] works extends beyond the actual drawings, because they show us that there are artists that we should not ignore who exist outside academia and the professional field,” Chen wrote in an introduction to Jiang’s portfolio.