1978 Riot in the Classroom




Huang Yao had a stroke in 1981 and so there were no children paintings in that year. However, from inability to hold and move the brush for painting and calligraphy, through exercises and practice a new awkward brush strokes was born. ‘As if helped by god, my calligraphy and painting entered another plane and it pleased me immensely’ (Huang, 2000 No. 59). He did a very few paintings of children in 1982 in the style of Fig. 29, ‘Riot in the Classroom’.

‘Riot in the Classroom’ consists of a series of twenty stage-shows performed by children in a classroom setting when the teacher is fast asleep. Huang Yao was an enthusiastic fan of the Chinese opera in Shanghai. This series of twenty acts could have been his favorites. An example Fig. 29, the children in this class are acting out the tale of Wu Song slaying the tiger in the Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.

Wu had too much wine, as evidence of an inn keeper offering wine at the lower left corner of the painting.  On his way home, he passed by Jingyang Gang as written on the banner held up by a boy.  He is killing the tiger (another boy)  with his bare hands.  The fifth boy is on the table just completed writing the word King representing tiger on their sleeping teacher’s forehead. Most of the lines in this painting are not smooth or even, they look like awkward lines drawn by children. These add another dimension of the innocence to the painting.


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