Skip to main content

Coming to visit? Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage your visit so please book ahead. Need to cancel or rejig? Email bookings@npg.gov.au

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Artist lovers re-united across the seas

Caught in the fickle winds of political change in China, grand history painter Shen Jiawei left his country and family behind when he moved to Australia.

1 Lan Wang, 2011. 2 Jiawei Shen, 2011. Both Gary Grealy. © Gary Grealy.

Shen Jiawei was a mural painter in China during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Lan Wan was a farmer in the north-east of the country, before going on to study, then teach, fine arts. As artists and painters, their parallel passions fanned the sparks of love when they met in 1975. In 1989, Shen – having created a work featuring problematic nationalist figures – left China for Sydney, leaving Lan, who was pregnant with daughter Xini, behind. It was several years before his wife and daughter could emigrate to join him. Shen began his Australian life sketching portraits amongst the pigeons at Darling Harbour in Sydney, later becoming one of Australia’s most important, and busiest, portrait painters.  Now settled in Bundeena in Sydney’s south, the pair frequently collaborate on epic paintings. Here Gary Grealy pays poignant tribute to their love and shared history.

That’s one to get your heart started! You are 9 stories away from seeing your love score...

Choose your next love story

Related information

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

Visiting the Gallery
Visiting the Gallery
Visiting the Gallery
Visiting the Gallery

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency