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Tianjin is a city with a long history and rich folk culture. COVID-19 has brought great crisis to this city which has a very strong flavor of life.
Tianjin is also a typical coastal city, believing in Mazu culture. This series of illustrations starts from the myth of Tianhou Mazu's protection of Tianjin, and uses Mazu's legend to blend the mythical image in the magic book of mountains and seas with the secular image of Tianjin folk culture. With the tension of myth and secular contrast, it creates a magic realistic painting, which is both true and false, to build a dream of Tianjin.
The first illustration depicts the horrible atmosphere of black clouds pressing the city at the entrance of Haihe River. The monsters in the book of mountains and seas are threatening the safety of the city. On the other side, the citizens do not seem to realize the arrival of danger, still living happily. All this is in the eyes of Tianhou Mazu. The picture contains abundant elements of Tianjin Folk Culture and a large number of rare monsters in the book of mountains and seas. The strong contrast between the two exaggerates the tension.
In the second illustration, the old and new buildings in Tianjin and the iconic eye of Tianjin outline Mazu's face. Under the protection of Mazu, the monster, which symbolizes the devil, becomes a symbol of auspicious deity and immortal, and flies into people's homes to enjoy delicious food with them.
The third illustration describes the scene that Tianjin can continue to live happily under the protection of Mazu whenever danger comes. The koi, fat dolls, traditional food, classic architecture and other elements in the picture create a utopian happy scene.
These three illustrations symbolize dangerous COVID-19 viruses with the monsters in the book of mountains and seas. At the same time, the illustrations show the happy life of Tianjin city under the protection of Mazu by the collage of Tianjin folk culture elements. Through the observation and reflection of the city, this series of works creatively shows the struggle against the crisis and the yearning for a better city life by means of magic realism.
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