Burigude Zhang

Artist and printmaker, Burigude Zhang, completed the MA Printmaking in 1999, followed by a year as Artist in Residence at Bradford College.

Burigude ZhangBurigude, originally from Inner Mongolia, but now based in Toronto, Canada, has gained an international reputation for his minimal but powerful work.

“I am very sure that the major foundation and energy resources of my art practice comes from where I built up my knowledge and skills. Bradford College is definitely the major constructive part of my knowledge and what I learnt there is continuously building confidence and credibility through my career. Even today, I am still benefiting directly from what I learnt from my former MA tutors, Ian Colverson and Colin Lloyd. For me this is a lifetime connection and benefit for my professional practice.

Bradford College is influential in art and printmaking internationally. This gives students the steps to access and connect with more professional societies. The gallery of former College student, David Hockney, in Saltaire gave us a sense of a great artist that is so real and near. It is still my favourite place to go and learn. The National Media Museum, where we had a chance to see photographic history, is so close to the College. Then there is the wonderful curry restaurant where my tutor treated me to a nice dinner and declared me an artist right after graduation!

Many people who I met during my time at college become my lifelong friends and have kept on visiting, corresponding and collaborating with me. When I remember Bradford College I don’t just think about an excellent educational institute with high quality facilities and staff, but also the wonderful Yorkshire people greeting me with ‘Hello love’ with heavy Yorkshire accents. It is located in such a rich cultural environment which you feel more strongly when you move away from it. I have to say I love all those things.”

In May 2008 Burigude returned to Bradford to lead workshops in the art of Chinese calligraphy at South Square Galleries, to coincide with a new exhibition of his latest work.

“Carrying vitality and consciousness, embrace them as one. It is always the temptation for me to get hold of the moment of life with these bold, simple and spontaneous marks which are not depicting but releasing the sense of simplicity, comfort, straightforwardness and faithfulness. It becomes the essential expression of my work. As Chinese master Tao-Chi spoke of the single brushstroke as the origin of all existence, it is my lifetime discipline to integrate my intrinsic nature with the essence of natural world, to achieve a state of integration between nature and humanity. Nourish by the spirit of open land, the vast stretch out of mountains, the firm, straight and deeply rooted trees, the formless running of water and the freedom of floating clouds, I do not copy the appearance of them but perceive the quality and spirit of them, based on those perceptions I start painting. The result is not designated but it keeps me exploring with open mind. What is remained on the canvas finally is the feeling that I want to keep them there.”

Photograph supplied by Burigude Zhang