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Honorary Professor Chao Shwu-der’s Exhibition Opened

Marking the 70th anniversary of National Taipei University (NTPU), honorary professor Chao Shwu-der (趙淑德) presented 70 Chinese paintings of hers at the library since Oct. 24.

Chao is a remarkable faculty member of NTPU because she spent almost her entire life on the campus, from a student who first enrolled as a freshman at Department of Land Economics in 1961 and ended up a retired professor, who has continued painting as a hobby of hers ever since she was a kid.

Former Examination Yuan President Hsu Shui-teh (許水德) said that Chao was also the first person who organized a Chinese painting exhibition at the Examination Yuan, while she served as a board member. Her first exhibition also became the inspiration for fellow amateur painters who are also officials from other government bodies to do the same. Former minister of examination Chen Chin-jang (陳金讓) also recognized Chao’s work. He said she is good at almost everything, from mountains to flowers, from birds to portraits. A prefect exhibition to display these masterpieces to celebrate NTPU’s anniversary, he said.

Extinguished alumnus George Chang (張法鶴) said that each of Chao’s Chinese paintings delivered a message. A painting of a pair of chickens, for example, is a metaphor of loving birds. A painting of blooming flowers and butterflies is encouraging students to continue to grow and chances will be theirs whenever they are ready, he said.

NTPU Alumni Association honorary chairman Chang Pen-tsao (張平沼) said he could feel that Chao continued to make progress on her painting although she is an amateur painter, which can also be a reason why she still looks young while she has been teaching for a long time.

NTPU President Lee Chen-jia (李承嘉) is one of Chao’s students. He said he enrolled the department in 1977 and Chao was already a popular teacher on the campus. He also enjoyed Chao’s class a lot.

“Just….I did not realize that she could paint,” Lee said.

Echoing Lee, Wang Chin-hsiang (王進祥) from Class ’72 also remembered his study with Chao.

“Name those important figures in this field today. You will figure that they are all Chao’s students,” Wang said. “Unfortunately, Chao only taught me professional subjects instead of painting.”

While everybody was “complaining,” Chao decided to show a move or two at the scene. She asked her “students” to get a brush, practice “I” vertically and horizontally for 15 minutes every day. Draw six “O” clockwise and counter clockwise as well as the shape of the triangle. Also, observe and try to paint the leaves of a plum blossom, an orchid, the bamboo or a chrysanthemum.

“Do that. If you are still lost, call me,” she said.

The exhibition of Chao’s Chinese paintings will be displayed on the second floor of the library until Dec. 17. Escort with audio tour services are available upon reservations.