At 0.15am on June 30th, first-generation Taichung oil painting master Professor Shen Guo-Ching(沈國慶) sadly passed away at the age of 83. Upon hearing the news at midday on July 5th, Taichung City Mayor Jason Hu, accompanied by council member Huang Kuo-shu and Deputy Director-general of the Department of Cultural Affairs Zeng Neng-ting, immediately rushed to the National Military General Hospital to pay his respects to the family and light incense for Professor Shen. Mayor Hu lamented the loss of another mainstay of Taichung’s art scene following the recent passing of oil painting master Chang Yao-shi anf calligrapher Yuan De-jiong(袁德炯).
Mayor Hu said: “It was only a while ago that Professor Shen Guo-Ching and I were sitting down for a good chat, with that bright and optimistic smile of his stretching from ear to ear. Then today I suddenly got the bad news - it’s such a shame.” Professor Shen had been suffering from terminal-stage colorectal cancer, but had kept it very quiet; none of his friends in Taiwan’s art circles knew. Despite his poor health, for the last three years Professor Shen had been even more active in taking part in events in the city’s art scene; his illness had also been brought under control, yet despite this he passed away on June 30th.
Professor Shen Guo-Ching was born in 1930 and both founded and served as the head of the Department of Art Instruction of the National Taichung University of Education (formerly known as the National Taichung Teachers College). For over 10 years he devoted himself to teaching art and helped foster a countless number of artistic talent, during which time he also remained an adherent of the concept of ‘promoting art education begins in primary schools.’ Professor Shen was also awarded the Award for Exceptional Teaching at Universities and Independent Academic Institutions issued by the Ministry of Education, and was acclaimed as a ‘helping hand in promoting art education in Taiwan.’ With regard to academic research, Professor Shen threw himself into his studies of industrial art and also took part in seminars held by the Ministry of Education on revisions to curriculum standard in primary and middle schools and teaching techniques. During these seminars he would emphasize the importance of art teaching in children’s intellectual development.
In addition to devoting himself to the advancement of art education, Professor Shen also continued to create his own artistic works, and particularly loved sketching natural landscapes and creating oil paintings. His pieces were previously printed as a calendar called ‘The Beauty of Taiwan’ and issued as a set of postcards by Chunghwa Post. In 1996 he received the Senior Outstanding Artist special award from the Taichung City Government Department of Cultural Affairs, and was recognized with international awards such as the ‘Record of Renowned Figures’ of the Contemporary Culture Section of the Beijing Lexicon of Chinese Figures, ‘The French Artists Salon Excellence Award’ and the ‘Mayor of Milan’s Award.’ Professor Shen was also invited to display his works in Sydney in Australia, Seoul in Korea, and various location in Mainland China, where they were met with wide praise.
After retiring from his teaching career, Professor Shen remained passionate about promoting art education in society. He continued to serve as a member of the Archive Committee of the Taichung City Government Department of Cultural Affairs, and acted as a judge and committee member for the Da Dun Art Exhibition and Da Dun Industrial Art Advisory Committee. It could be said that he devoted his entire life to art education in Taiwan, and will be sorely missed for the tireless creative output that made him a leading light of the city’s art and cultural scenes.