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Friendship lasts even after death

  We met Black and White and the Toumads after we went to work in Egypt in 1993, but we know them back in 1956. One day, we went into the city to Wangfujing, and stopped by the Central Academy of Fine Arts to visit Ai Minyou, who was at the same table as Peng Ling’s junior high school student. He was studying in the Oil Painting Department of the Academy of Fine Arts. He knew that we were learning Arabic, so he said, “There are two new Egyptian students in the Academy of Fine Arts. They are a couple named Black and White and Tumad…” As he was talking, he saw a group of Chinese students surrounded by two foreign students. The youth came out of the teaching building next to the big playground, talking and laughing all the way. Min You said, “It’s the two international students. You can chat with them in Arabic…” Seeing our hesitation, Min You said, “It doesn’t matter, they are very easy-going.” At that time, we hadn’t even finished learning the alphabet. Have the “qualification” to “chat” with them in Arabic!
  This is the first time we see Black and White, Toumad. After the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Egypt, they not only supported each other politically, but also had frequent cultural exchanges. Egyptian films such as “Loyalty” and “For a Better Day” were generally welcomed by Chinese audiences. We feel that Black and White and Toumad are like the male and female protagonists in “For a Better Day”, young, enthusiastic, lively and hearty. Impressed us.
  Black and White, Toumad graduated from the Painting Department of Cairo University of the Arts in 1953. In 1956, he also received a higher education scholarship awarded by the Egyptian government and came to the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing to study Chinese painting and printmaking. Although they studied watercolor painting and oil painting in Cairo, they are two different systems from Chinese painting and printmaking. But they do not have the slightest resistance or prejudice to unfamiliar and unfamiliar Chinese paintings. On the contrary, their love for China and Chinese traditional culture and art has made them devote themselves to intensive study from the very beginning. . At that time, most of the teachers in the Chinese Painting Department of the Academy of Fine Arts were well-known art masters in the field of Chinese painting in my country. In addition to learning woodcuts from Li Hua and Huang Yongyu, they also have a strong interest in Chinese ink painting. They also learn Chinese painting techniques of landscape, flowers, birds and figures under the guidance of many Chinese painters such as Li Keran, Li Kuchan and Jiang Zhaohe. Because they have a good foundation in Western painting, they are sincere, solid, open-minded, studious, and good at learning by analogy, they soon achieved gratifying results. Black and white tried to use Chinese woodcut techniques to represent the fisherman on the Nile River in Egypt, the craftsman who made the rosary, the village woman who scrubbed the utensils by the river, and other woodcuts that represented Egyptian folk customs. During their study, they also paid attention to combining the characteristics of ink and wash in Chinese painting with the techniques of woodcut to create a number of very distinctive works. This was highly appreciated by their mentor, the famous painter Huang Yongyu, who regarded it as an “amazing achievement” achieved by their “mindfulness, hard work and concentration”.
  They have studied in China for 5 years and have made great progress in their knowledge and painting skills. I remember that many photos were published in the “People’s China” pictorial to introduce their study in China. When the Beijing Exhibition Center held an exhibition of Egyptian paintings, they also exhibited many of their art works. Among them, Tumade’s color-coded woodcut “Asia-Africa Solidarity” is considered to be a new achievement of Sino-Egyptian cultural exchanges and Sino-Egyptian friendship. In the summer of 1961, they ended their study abroad life and both received their master’s degrees with honors. As their mentor Huang Yongyu said in the short essay “Unforgettable Memories”:
  ”Five years passed quickly. During this time (their) two couples gave birth to a lovely daughter, Mahan, who was born in Chinese art where her parents studied art. The highest school in the world. Mahan! Mahan! Do you remember the small building next to the big playground? Two of them came from Egypt, and three of them went back to Egypt, with full of artistic creations…”
  In order to make her daughter Mahan always remember the “small building beside the big playground” of China and the Academy of Fine Arts, her parents specially gave her a Chinese name: Xiaohong…
  Years are ruthless, nearly 40 years have passed in a flash, when we meet again When it came to Black and White and the Tumade couple, what appeared in front of us was not the young, lively and youthful Egyptian youth we first saw in the large playground of the Academy of Fine Arts. After they returned to Egypt, in addition to continuing to engage in art creation and holding art exhibitions in Egypt and other countries, they also served as art directors, art editors of the Egyptian news department and magazines such as Ruz Youssef, and art editors of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. Minister of Popular Culture and Director of Arts. Black and white also holds several part-time positions, such as Cairo Atelie writer, and chairman of the Artists Association. He has published many works of art and literature, and won the first-class “Science and Art Medal” awarded by President Mubarak. He is also a painter, writer, photographer, and social activist. The most commendable thing is that regardless of the passage of time and the vicissitudes of life, they have always been the same for decades, taking it as their “obligation” to promote the friendship and cultural exchanges between the Chinese and Egyptian people. All cultural and art troupes from China, writers, poets, choreographers, actors… as long as they need it, they are all enthusiastic and helpful. As Mr. Huang Yongyu said: “This is what people from Egypt and people who go to Egypt often say: There is a black and white and a Tumad in Egypt.” The teachers and alumni of the Central Academy of Fine Arts visited Egypt, and they Nature spares no effort.
  Although we are not specialized in art, we love literature and art very much, and we have many writers and artist friends who are familiar with each other. Because of our common hobbies and common language, we soon became close friends of black and white couples. During the few years we worked in Cairo, we gathered together on weekends or on holiday to discuss and exchange topics on literature, art, Chinese and Egyptian cultural traditions, customs and customs, etc.
  A black and white couple lives on a quiet side street in Maadi, Cairo’s new district. I remember the first time we followed the address opened by Mr. Black and White, and quickly found this small street. We were looking for the house number, but we saw a white car on the rear glass window of a blue car parked on the side of the road. A piece of paper with four regular script Chinese characters written on it: Wind and rain return to the boat. We laughed knowingly. This shady street is like a river. The black and white couple tied their little “boat” here. Needless to say, this must be their warm harbor – their home.
  Walking into the home of the black and white couple is like walking into a museum of traditional Chinese art: paintings by famous artists such as Qi Baishi, Shi Lu, Li Keran and Huang Zhou hang on the walls, some of which were given by painters, and some of which were bought in Rongbaozhai. The title of Li Keran’s “The Color of the Mountains in the Rain” reads: “Koran wrote for the second classmate of Tumad in black and white in the classroom in 1958.” The title of another picture, “Looking at the Bathing Cow in the Cool Evening Breeze” is: “Black and White Tumad Zheng”. When the black-and-white couple visited China in 1989, Master Ke Ran was already infected, and the black-and-white couple rushed to the hospital bed to visit. In the winter of 1961, before the black and white couple returned from their studies, Huang Zhou specially painted a picture for them. The inscription on the sideline was: “Black and white Tumad painting friends take a souvenir.” The handsome Uyghur girl and the two lively and naughty little donkeys are about to appear in the painting… On the other wall, there are two “Later Apprenticeship Tables”, which are arrogant like a dragon According to legend, it is Yue Fei’s handwriting. White characters on a black background, we thought it was a stele extension, and shook our heads in black and white: “You go and feel it.” When I looked closer, it was actually velvet embroidery. . The black and white couple said that they bought it at the old Dong’an market in Beijing…
  In the 1950s, the lives of Egyptian students were not well-off, so they managed to find bargains at the antique shops, second-hand bookstores in Dong’an Market and used furniture shops in Dong’anmen. Wearing a pair of black silk shirts, grey silk trousers, and a pair of black cloth shoes, looking black and white like a Chinese martial artist, he pointed to a carved screen and said, “At that time, it cost hundreds of dollars in a handicraft store, and we are in the old one. The furniture store only cost a dozen yuan.” Tumade held out a cloisonne vase with a long neck and a pot belly and said, “Look at how beautiful it is! When we bought it, it only cost five yuan.” Inside, ivory carvings, porcelain plates, coffee tables, hand-embroidered cloth banners in rural Jiangnan, and the small longevity lock on Tumade’s chest with the words “rich and longevity” written on their chests. With the opportunities of sketching and internships in the school, I have worked hard little by little. Now, after several decades, they have not followed the trend of the times and bought some “fashionable” furniture. The living room is still filled with these handicrafts brought back from China by thousands of miles, and they still live in the traditional Chinese cultural atmosphere they are familiar with. . They said that they were reluctant and did not want to replace the “fashionable” furniture, because almost every piece of these handicrafts has an unforgettable story, which brings them a warm memory of China… Their daughter, a small child, was born in Beijing. Hong, who is now the president of a branch of the Construction Bank of Egypt, has also been hanging the panda painted by Master Wu Zuoren in her bedroom. No wonder black and white couples always like to say, “We are half Chinese.”
  Black and white couples have a soft spot for Chinese culture. They not only humbly seek advice from teachers at school, but also extensively dabble in Chinese literature, drama and other traditions after school. Art. Tianqiao, Liulichang, Dong’an Market, Jixiang Theater and other places that were full of traditional Chinese culture in those days are all places where they often accompany them after school. Especially in black and white, humorous by nature, and sometimes blurt out a tongue twister when talking and laughing, clever articulation, authentic Beijing accent, often won the applause of Chinese guests. When they were in Beijing, the couple got to know Mao Dun, Mei Lanfang, and Lao She through the introduction of friends. They watched Lao She’s play “Tea House” and were invited to attend Mei Lanfang’s farewell performance “Drunken Concubine”.

  At that time, Premier Zhou Enlai also loved the pair of foreign students from the first African and Arab countries to establish diplomatic relations with China, and invited them to a banquet with Hassan Rajeb, the Egyptian ambassador to China. When it comes to the past, they are always full of emotion. At that time, they were only young students in their twenties, and Zhou Enlai was a respected prime minister of a big country. When they received the invitation, they were both excited and disturbed. It was Ambassador Rajeb who reassured them. When they met, Premier Zhou’s great charisma and the kindness and kindness of the elders to the younger generation made them feel like they were at home. They said that what impressed them the most was that Premier Zhou was like ordinary Chinese at that time, wearing clean and simple old clothes, which further showed Premier Zhou’s great personality. From this, they realized a truth: the dignity of a person mainly depends on the character and personality. Without a noble character and personality, even if you sit on a golden mountain, you will not make yourself “dignified”… They still remember , Once watching a movie, Premier Zhou waved to them from a distance. That day, Tumad was wearing a Chinese cheongsam. Premier Zhou pointed to her clothes and smiled happily…
  We listened to the black and white Tumad couple more than once. Talking about these past events with relish, their feelings for China will never be indifferent with the passage of time. We have a deep understanding of this. Peng Ling loved art when he was a teenager, and especially envied Gao Mang, who was a translator, writer and painter. He took out the sketchbook and pen he brought with him when he went on a visit, and he could see the meaningful characters, scenery and scenery with just a few quick strokes. , vividly outlined. After arriving in Egypt, he often took a small book to practice sketching in his spare time, but because of his poor drawing skills, except for Zhang Yi, he never showed the small book to others. After getting acquainted with the two Egyptian painters, the Black and White couple, they naturally refused to let go of such a good learning opportunity. They did not dislike Peng Ling, a Chinese “old student”. I’m afraid that the drawings will not look the same, so I need to draw more and practice more.” Tumade commented one by one carefully, and every time she met, she was like a teacher, picking up “homework”. When we left office, Black and White specially sent us a picture of the Nile River scenery painted by him. This painting has always been treasured for us. As soon as we saw it, we remembered the days when we met with Black and White and the Tumade couple in Egypt, and their precious friendship.
  When our collection of essays, A Walk in Egypt, was published, in addition to photographs, it also included sketches by Peng Ling in Egypt. When Mr. Hei Hei led a delegation to Beijing for academic exchanges at the invitation of the China Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, we gave him “A Walk in Egypt”. Hei Hei saw Peng Ling’s illustrations and repeatedly said, “As soon as I return to Cairo, I will give it to Touma. Dekan, she will be as happy as me…” We knew that the paintings were not very good, but the encouragement of the black and white couple inspired us, and the two later collections of essays also boldly attached our own paintings. Illustration…
  We have been keeping correspondence with the black and white couple. In 2002, Peng Ling participated in a delegation organized by the China Friendship Association and visited Egypt and Libya. In Cairo, I was fortunate enough to meet Black and White and Toumad. In September of the same year, Black and White and Tomade were invited by the Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the Central Academy of Fine Arts to hold a retrospective exhibition of their artistic life and works in China. At the same time as the opening of the exhibition, they also held a ceremony to award Black and White with the title of “People’s Friendship Messenger”. After President Chen Haosu of the Friendship Association with Foreign Countries awarded Mr. Black and White the medal and certificate, Black and White made a speech in authentic Beijing dialect amid warm applause and said: “Today, we are sincerely happy to return to our alma mater, the Central Academy of Fine Arts. As for the award to me I am both honored and disturbed by the title of ‘Messenger of Friendship of the People’ because we have only done a little bit of what we should have done…” He was humble and kind as always. What’s even more touching is that Black and White’s body is not as good as before. Director Jia Ling of the Friendship Association was afraid that he would be overworked, so he brought him a chair, but he thanked him politely, and still stood with other guests until the end of the ceremony…
  We Deeply disturbed by Mr. Black and White’s illness, he repeatedly persuaded him to undergo surgery. After Peng Ling underwent radical surgery in 1998, there has been no recurrence or metastasis, but Black and White adopted conservative treatment. About the time of discovery, the cancer had already spread and he finally died.
  When we got the news of Black and White’s death, we immediately sent a letter to Tumad, hoping that she and Xiaohong would mourn and change. To our relief, they are all strong. Toumad wrote back: Although Black and White are gone, the friendship between Egypt and China will last forever…
  Yes, although Black and White, a good friend of the Chinese people, has left us, he was for Egypt, for Egypt-China friendship, and for all mankind during his lifetime. Civilization, development, progress, his outstanding contributions, and his noble character will all be remembered by the people of Egypt and China. Just like the flowing water of the Nile, it has a long history…

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