Celebrating its seventh anniversary, the Millennium Gate Museum at Atlantic Station opens an exhibit of the late Chinese artist I-Hsiung Ju on July 31.
Ju (1923-2012) was born in Jiangyin, Jiangsu, China and became a major figure of Asian art.
“He had the ability to blend two worlds of style, technique and idiom to produce a unique form of painting that is both modern and traditionally East Asian,” according to Millennium Gate Museum director Jeremy Kobus.
“A Chinese artist is not only a painter,” Ju said, “but also a poet and a philosopher.”
His life story had a remarkable early chapter. At 17, fighting as part of the Chinese resistance in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), he was captured at a battle in Anhui Province and physically abused as a POW. Then one night he noticed the name “I-Hsiung” embroidered on the guard’s uniform and forged a bond with the Japanese soldier with which he shared a given name.
Though they could not speak each others’ language, they employed a traditional form of calligraphy known as Kanjithe, and were able to share that both their fathers were respected artists. The Japanese soldier eventually released Ju, who disappeared into a forest.
He later fled mainland China and lived in Manila and Taipei before, later in life, moving to the U.S., where he taught at Washington and Lee and Princeton universities.
The Millennium Gate Museum will have special programming on the exhibit’s opening weekend, presenting six East Asian ink brush artists doing free demonstrations on July 31 and Aug. 1. Find a schedule and artist biographies here.
Through Oct 18. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays. $12; seniors and military $10. 395 17th St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-881-0900, thegateatlanta.com.