For half a century since 1946, Chinese artist Sha Qi, also known as Sadji in Europe, has lived an almost anonymous life in a remote village in East China's Zhejiang Province where he was born, tolerating his own mental illness and other people's misunderstandings.
In 1938, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts gave him a Golden Medal in recognition of his prominence. He also held several solo shows in Brussels and exhibited his paintings together with Western artists such as Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).
An article from ChinaDaily – 22 March 2001
Sha Qi studied painting first at the Shanghai Arts School, then the Central University of China. In 1934 Xu Beihong came into his life. Then Director of the Art Department, later to become President of Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing) and the Chinese Artists’ Association, Xu turned out to be a crucial guide and friend to Sha Qi, recognizing his talent and passion in art and spending the rest of their years together teaching, mentoring, promoting and protecting Sha.
It was Xu that introduced Sha to the Belgium Royal Academy of Fine Arts, where he would learn Western painting under Professor A. Bastien (who also taught famous Chinese painter Wu Zuoren, 1908-1997).
With his excellent teachers, Sha Qi quickly found his way as an artist. In 1939, his grades in sketching, oil painting and sculpture classes won him a Golden Medal in Fine Arts. He held many solo shows in Brussels, and in 1940 he was showing alongside Pablo Picasso at Atriome. His painting titled “Girl Playing Flute” was purchased by the Royal Family of Belgium in 1942. During these years of study in Europe, Sha’s style developed from academically notable to stylistic, as exhibited in his painting “Studio at Royal Academy of Fine Arts”, one of the first to be accented by expressive brushstrokes that would soon become trademark of his work in Belgium. By the time he moved back to China in 1946, ‘Sad Ji’ was a well known and beloved artist in Europe.
(source: Tobin Reese)