This assignment lasted three years.
"Everyone had a story," Huang says, adding he was never refused entry into the homes on Barkhor Street, thanks to his felicity with Tibetans and his knowledge of the local culture. "If you live in Tibet, you have to learn to be respectful and modest."
Measuring every house on the Barkhor Street enabled him to observe and commit to memory every detail of Tibetan architecture. It also laid a solid foundation for Huang's pen-and-ink drawings, which went on to become famous nationwide.
He then traveled to every prefecture of Tibet by foot, on bicycle or by hitchhiking, to paint. In 1999, he decided to move to Chokpri, a mountain that stands opposite the Potala Palace in Lhasa - a Tibetan landmark.
"I couldn't stand seeing people litter on Chokpri," Huang says. So he applied to volunteer with the Lhasa Landscaping Bureau. He spent three years picking up the litter on the mountain while painting the Potala Palace.
"I drew the Potala Palace in each of the four seasons, in the morning and evening, in different light conditions, and in rain and snow," Huang says.
After making 50 different paintings of Potala Palace, Huang finally came up with one in which the landmark is surrounded by flaming clouds that many said reminded them of the scene depicting the end of the world in the film 2012.
Despite earning acclaim and traveling far and wide, Huang says he always returns to Barkhor Street. He has a strong attachment to Jokhang Temple, where he spent so much time sunbathing on its roof or simply sitting against a pillar.
"I always tried to revive that spirit of Jokhang Temple," Huang says. "Especially when I felt frustrated, I just walked into those old houses, savored a pot of sweet milk tea."
But he no longer goes in there, he says. "Now you can't get into Jokhang Temple without buying a ticket," he says. "And if you sit there, you will find 10 tour guides telling 10 different versions of a story. They are loud and shameless. They make me want to hit them."
His disappointment finally made him move his art studio from Barkhor Street several years ago. "Modern civilization is like a piece of film. It wraps around an older civilization and gradually suffocates it," he says.
From: China Daily
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