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Artist’s prints may save life
SINCE 2005, Weimin He’s delicate drawings have captured the changes on Oxford’s skyline.
Now the artist is selling his paintings to raise funds for a family friend’s kidney transplant operation in China.
Originally from Northern China, Mr He, 48, now lives in Summertown.
He is employed by Oxford University to sketch buildings at the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, off Woodstock Road.
For the past three years he has visited Nihegou village, in China’s Shaanxi province, staying with a local family.
One of the family members, 24-year-old Wu Jiangwei, who works for a mining company, has suffered renal failure and needs a kidney transplant.
Once a donor is found, the operation will cost about £20,000.
Mr He will next month sell prints and paintings at a fundraising exhibition in Oxford.
He said: “I have met Jiangwei several times and he’s a lovely man. When I found out he was ill earlier this year I wanted to do something to help.
“I will try to raise as much as possible by selling about 50 prints and paintings, perhaps more, depending on how many the gallery can fit in.
“My smaller prints normally sell from about £100 and I am thinking of giving a discount of 20 per cent off the usual price.
“I’d like to raise several thousand pounds at the exhibition and I’ll try every other possibility to sell my work before Christmas.
“People could also buy my paintings on my website.”
After moving to Oxford in 2005, Mr He worked as artist-in-residence at the Ashmolean Museum to record its £61m restoration.
Since 2009 he has been artist-in-residence for Oxford University estates directorate.
He added: “When I told Jiangwei’s brother what I was planning he was surprised and said ‘don’t sell your paintings – they’re too precious’.
“But a transplant could make so much difference to his life, so I want to do what I can.
“Jiangwei’s mother Zheng Fenlan is willing to donate one of her kidneys if it is the right match.
“Jiangwei is now in a hospital in Xi’an, which is about 400 miles from his village.”
An Exhibition to Help Save a Life in China will take place at the Sinolink Gallery, in St Clement’s Street, from Wednesday, December 12, to Wednesday, December 19, beginning with a private view on December 12, from 6pm to 8pm.
“There might be a small charge from the gallery for hosting the exhibition but apart from that all the money will go to the family – I won’t keep a penny,” Mr He added.
Sylvia Vetta, from Kennington, featured Mr He in her book Oxford Castaways, about well-known Oxford personalities.
She said: “I think this young man and his family live in quite a remote area where some people used to live in caves.
“I hope Weimin’s exhibition is supported, because the transplant will cost a lot of money.
“People in China would no doubt think our health service sounds like paradise.”
For further information, visit heweimin.org
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