You’re never too old to learn, a concept that has been vividly illustrated by Xu Anling, a 70-year-old lady who recently graduated from one of China’s top art universities.
Xu, who lives in Zhujing town, Jinshan district of Shanghai, obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in traditional Chinese painting from the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province in June. Xu earned her second bachelor’s degree from the university, inspiring many others to pursue their dreams.
Born in 1951, Xu has loved painting since she was a child. However, to make a living, she worked as a mechanic before becoming a taxi driver. Due to her busy work schedule, she had to temporarily abandon her hobby.
After retirement, Xu returned to painting at the age of 58. In 2009, she began to further her studies at the China Academy of Art. In July 2016, Xu earned an associate’s degree from the university.
One year later, she passed the adult college entrance examination and became an undergraduate student majoring in calligraphy at the university. Xu was awarded her first Bachelor of Arts degree from the university in 2019.
It was not easy for the elderly lady to further her study of traditional Chinese painting, as she had to spend more time practicing to master its basic skills.
“Young students just needed three or four hours per day. But I had to practice more to catch up with them,” Xu said.
“I lived under a tent in my classroom for a time. I painted till midnight every day and got up at 5 a.m. the next day to continue my painting,” Xu recalled, adding that she didn’t feel tired at all due to her great enthusiasm for painting.
Xu now runs a studio in her hometown in Zhujing, and has the full support of her family members in fulfilling her dream of becoming an artist. Xu plans to keep some of the awards she has won in the town where her dream started.