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French street artist inspired by Peking Opera
By Xu Wei

FOLLOWING the popularity of his works on the walls of demolished buildings in downtown Shanghai in January, French artist Julien “Seth” Malland has recently completed a graffiti series inspired by Chinese opera.

Malland has recently created four works at the Urban Best Practice Area in the Expo Park in Huangpu District. The paintings will stay on the walls there for three years.

All of the paintings represent Malland’s understanding of Peking Opera. They are a fusion of modern expression and traditional Chinese theater elements.


“These days a lot of traditional art forms are fading away,” Malland says. “I hope that my paintings will be a connection between the past and the present.”

After attending a Peking Opera performance at Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Malland says he was inspired by the costumes and sets. He also used facial makeup that opera performers wear in his works.


Born in 1972 in Paris, Malland is a graduate of Ecole Nationale Supurieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. He began doing street art in the mid-1990s.

Since 2003, Malland has traveled around the world to exchange ideas with street artists from different cultures, during which he has developed his artistic vision. His paintings usually feature simple characters and an ingenious connection to the environment.

Over the years the artist has created hundreds of works in Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia and South America. He usually finds inspiration from the culture and history of the country where he is. The subjects of his murals are also connected to the places in which they are painted.

The exhibition at the Urban Best Practice Area also features one piece by Xu Yu’an, a Shanghai illustrator. Xu has created a lot of comic works themed on Peking Opera. Her works are known for being vivid with strong emotive power.


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