Shan Shui Mountain | Water is the term we generally associate with the school of Chinese landscape art that many art historians around the world believe to be China’s most important contribution to the art of painting. Rooted in the philosophy of Daoism, the Shan Shui art movement - which first gained prominence during the waning years of the Tang dynasty (618-907) - actualizes its central precept that humans are but one of myriad manifestations of the Dao, and are therefore no more nor less significant than any other beings, and our destiny lies in abiding by the Way of Nature and living in harmony within it with humility, compassion and moderation. Using the three compositional principles of Shan Shui painting - Paths, Threshold and Heart - as his structure, Basil Pao assembled this collection of landscapes gathered during more than twenty years of travelling around the world into his latest book.
Basil Pao began his photographic career in 1980 upon his return to Hong Kong after ten years in the United States, where he was art director for Atlantic Records and Album Graphics Inc. in New York, and Warner Brothers Records in Los Angeles. His work during that time included designing the book and graphics for the Monty Python film Life of Brian, where he first worked with Michael Palin. They have since collaborated on 11 illustrated books based on the BBC travel series Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway Adventure, Sahara, Himalaya, New Europe and Brazil. He is also the author of Hands, China Revealed and The Universal Scream, which was launched on 12 December 2013 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Edvard Munch’s birthday. His exhibition catalogues include Yi’Jing-Book of Changes, which accompanied The Great Walls of China Series exhibition; Travels with Michael Palin for his exhibitions at the Fox Talbot Museum in Wiltshire and the Royal Geographical Society in London; and Around the World in 8000 Days for the exhibition at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. His corporate work includes the limited-edition books A Tale of Two Ventures for Wah Kwong Maritime Transport; AMAN, Bhutan and AMAN2 for Amanresorts; OM-Ordinary Moments, CMYK-China, Shan Shui-Mountain-Water, Blazing Shadows-A World of Black & Light for Printer Trento and his latest OM 2 -Ordinary Moments+. Basil’s travel essays and other assignments, including his photography for Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor and Little Buddha, have appeared in publications and exhibitions all around the world.