Art by Jai Lu
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Jia Lu was born into a Beijing that stood relatively unchanged by the ravages of the Chinese Communist Revolution. Land reforms and a fundamental reorganization of government and civil life had transformed relations between individuals during the five years of Communist rule preceding the artist’s birth. But the Beijing landscape, with its narrow, winding alleys and compounds enclosed by gray walls, the palaces of the Qing emperors and aristocracy weighted under their yellow and kingfisher roof tiles, the lakes and parks where one could swim during the summer and skate in winter, the songs of vendors falling through the dawn air like the swallows appearing at first light—these were the permanent aspects of a Beijing that filled the artist’s memories and provided the earliest inspiration for a lifetime of work.