Shanna Sun and Janet Fong co-curate "Botero in China"

November 20, 2015 – January 2, 2016

Botero in China

Press Release

The National Museum of China in Beijing is pleased to announce ‘Botero in China,’ featuring the works of world-renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero, and hosted by the Ministry of Culture of China and the Embassy of Colombia in China. The show opens 20th November 2015, and is co-curated by Shanna Sun and Janet Fong. The exhibition will be presented by China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG) and supported by Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) and Klein Sun Foundation. The show will continue until 2nd January 2016.

Celebrated around the world for his unique style expressed through the consistent and coherent exploration of volume and colour, his depictions of local scenes from his childhood in Colombia and Latin America have achieved a rare universality.

This will be Maestro Botero’s first official exhibition in mainland China. As the initial encounter of the world’s most important contemporary figurative artist, one who is deeply rooted in the western pictorial tradition, with the principal nation of the East, China, with its own rich artistic tradition; this event is of global significance.

Deputy Director Chen Lv Sheng of the National Museum of China stated “We are delighted to be able to welcome Master Botero to mainland China for the first time and to introduce one of the world’s most important living artists to the people of China. His unique style and universal language of sensual form will enrich the halls of our great museum and is a wonderful addition to our ongoing mission of the promotion of cultural learning.”

“I am very excited about coming to China, to show my work, and at the same time to know the country as I have great admiration for Chinese culture, sculptures and paintings,” said Maestro Fernando Botero. “To be the one of the first international living artists to be invited to a solo exhibition in the National Museum of China is a tremendous distinction and I am very honoured and enthusiastic. I hope the public in China will appreciate my work.”

Juan Camilo Montana, Director of ‘Botero in China’, further mentioned “China is not only one of the great economically developed nations, it also boasts a rich and diverse cultural and artistic heritage. From this civilization stems a great appreciation of art. Today with an increasingly sophisticated audience, China is quickly becoming the world’s most important art market. As such, it is the perfect location for Maestro Botero to present his life’s work.”

“The exhibition will be a ‘Retrospective’ that will enable Chinese public to get acquainted with the themes that have interested him throughout his career and that have made his pictorial universe an important reference to the whole world: Everyday Life in Latin America, Still Life, The Bullfight, The Circus andVersions: Evoking Tradition (his versions of masterpieces by grand masters of the history of art). In addition there will be a sixth gallery with a selection of some of his finest larger drawings, a fundamental discipline of his art, where the mastery of Maestro Botero is clearly visible.” explained Janet Fong, one of the co-curators, along with Shanna Sun.

Yin Peng, Director of American Division of CAEG stated, “On the occasion of the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Colombia, we are excited to introduce for the first time the world-renowned artist Mr. Fernando Botero and his works to mainland China. For the past decades, we have showcased many world-famous artists such as Michelangelo, Rodin, Picasso, among others in China. I believe it is a good opportunity for the Chinese audience to have a greater understanding about the art, culture and history of Colombia and we are looking forward to the great success of this exhibition in Beijing.”

On show will be 81 large format oil paintings and 15 large format drawings on canvas, ranging from the 1970s until today, comprised entirely of works from the artist’s personal collection, a collection that represents his favourite paintings and drawings from a prolific career spanning 50 years and counting.

Additionally, a fully illustrated catalogue of the works presented in the exhibition will be created to commemorate this magnificent event, the beginning of a long and prosperous relationship between the world’s most important artist and an ancient and profound culture that is rising to become the most important country in the world.


Fernando Botero, born in Medellin, Colombia in 1932, is frequently mentioned as the world’s most important living artist. With a style that is immediately recognised and celebrated in every corner of this planet, he has maintained throughout his career constancy and coherence in the exploration of volume and colour while depicting scenes from his childhood in Colombia and Latin America.

Although his subject matter is local he has achieved a universal language that explains his worldwide success. He is strongly influenced by the works of the Great Masters in the History of Art and prides himself on his respect and love of this tradition. Over a career spanning more than 50 years, he is one of the world’s most prolific artists, and is one of the few who expresses his art across almost all mediums. Exhibited all over the world, he has the honour of being the living artist who has had the most museum exhibitions, the most books written about him and the most films made. He is still active today.