Xingzhi Migrant Art School is a non-profit organization that offers art lessons for the children of migrant workers who otherwise would not have this opportunity. This update was written by Director Gu, the founder of and a teacher at the Art School in Beijing.
Zhang Zhengwei is 15 and is in Grade 6. He is 1.7 meters taller but he is not able to speak clearly. His father is a rubbish collector and supports the whole family of 4. His mother is mentally disordered because one of her sons died in a car accident. He has a younger sister who is in Grade 1.
Teacher Gu noticed him in an art class. He was tall and was about to finish primary school. His family was so poor he was about to drop out of school to help his father collect rubbish. Teacher Gu decided to teach him life skills to give him a brighter future. Gu asked him if he liked art. He nodded excitedly. Thus, Zhang Zhengwei became one of the members of Xingzhi. Boys like him, for he can play basketball with them. His classmates care deeply for him. He always helps people as much as he can. He will be integrated into the family of Xingzhi soon. Teacher Gu cares about his life. He would ask him what he ate when he went beck home. The answer was always noodles, steamed bread or pickles. He seldom ate meat. Teacher Gu often bought food for him. Sometimes, Gu brought one more portion for him from home.
In one year, Zhang Zhengwei made quick progress under the instruction of Teacher Gu. He developed confidence and accomplished his goals. Most children in migrant families are not able to go to middle school let alone college. Some of them follow their parents and work for other people. Some of them have nothing to do or go back home and find someone to marry. They work in the bottom level of society like their parents.
Seeing his progress, Teacher Gu encouraged him to create his own work. Gu asked him to collect rubbish with his father and sketch their lives in his workbook. Step by step, Teacher Gu taught him about artistic realism. Then he asked Zhang Zhengwei to enlarge his drawings onto bigger paper. The picture was so big Zhang put it on the blackboard. Soon, he will complete the realistic picture named Rubbish Collecting.
Original article written by Xiaochen Gu, translated by Maggie Li, Edited by Yanyan Zhang
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