Yan Yaya’s Emotional Portraits Of Asia’s Youth
Yan Yaya was born in 1964 in Xi’an, China. She is best known for her beautiful, colorful oil paintings, which have both artistic appeal and a strong emotional impact. Yan has a nuanced understanding of culture and a deep interest in portraying the local peoples within Asia – her subjects are largely the children of Tibet, Mongolia, and the Pamir Mountains, which span across Tajikistan and penetrate Afghanistan, China, and Krygyzstan.
It is crucial to stress Yan’s love and dedication to the Asian highlands and its people. Since 1983, she has visited the Pamir Plateau more than 20 times; she even stopped selling her works and took a three-year hiatus in order to travel, gathering inspiration and painting in seclusion. Yan revealed the products of her arduous three-year journey at the China National Museum of Fine Art in 2003 with a solo exhibition called Angels of Warmth, a collection of emotionally provoking portraits.
The piece featured on the slider – 依扎提 (Yi Zhati) – is a portrait of one of the local children in the Asian highlands. Yan’s brilliance lies in her focus on her subject’s eyes: she paints striking hazel irises, small dark pupils, and an absolutely striking gaze. We cannot help but stare into the girl’s eyes. Even the gorgeous reds and greens in her scarf and the details in her hands and hair cannot distract us from her bright eyes, which evoke sincerity, honesty, and youth. Another theme in Yan Yaya’s portraits is sunlight. In addition to realistically capturing Pamir’s dazzling sun, she cleverly uses light and angles to complement her subject’s eyes and to direct our focus to their gaze.These details attest to the artist’s ability not only to reproduce physical characteristics and beauty, but also to express and capture the souls of her subjects.
How do you feel about Yan’s portraits?