He was the talented voice actor on a popular radio drama, and a versatile actor who appeared in more than thirty films and TV series. In his later years, he became a talk show host. In today's Champion story, we'll introduce to you Wang Gang, an artist in tireless pursuit of culture.
Wang Gang [Photo: hexun.com]
Wang Gang's name became well known throughout the country in the early 1980s, when he performed in the audio drama, "Night of Harbin."
"The drama was broadcasted on 108 radio stations, and the total listenership was about 300 million, which was a third of China's population back then. It was a sweeping hit. "
That radio drama brought fame to Wang Gang, and led him to appreciate cultural diversity.
"People's understanding of art and culture help nourish and feed life. This is the most important thing I learned from my part in the radio drama. We are given endless inspiration from the rich cultural heritage of China, and even more from the cultural treasures of the world as a whole."
In 2007, Wang Gang was offered a new job hosting a talk show on antique collectors. Participants bring their heirlooms to a panel of experts for judgment, and if an item is deemed counterfeit, Wang Gang destroys it.
"It is a challenging job, since antique collecting has a niche market while TV broadcasts are mass media. It requires an artful introduction of the niche culture to the mass market, and at the same time, it can't fail the basic task of entertaining the audience."
On the show, Wang Gang is armed with a golden mallet. In the case that a collector's item is fake, Wang Gang smashes it mercilessly with the mallet. He says although it looks harsh, he must stop the fake items from returning to the markets.
"I'm particularly conscious when it comes to things being true or fake, even when making friends or finding love. I think being truthful is the key to good social relations. Truth is the foundation that holds up the world, and it is a quality that we should never stop seeking."
Although some people disagree with the decision to destroy the fake items, Wang Gang says true antique collectors support the destruction of the fakes. Even if the items weren't smashed on the spot, true collectors would destroy them since they can't allow counterfeits to hurt the tradition.
"Is there anything more wonderful than collecting antiques? With this little piece of art, you can sample tradition, appreciate the charm of a culture, and improve your understanding of life. It can even turn out a profit if you need money. Can you find a parallel that would be as valuable?"
In his spare time, Wang Gang spends a lot of time hanging out at antique markets like Panjiayuan and Gaobeidian in Beijing. He says collecting antiques has brought him a fresh outlook on life.
"I've had a feeling of rebirth since I started collecting antiques. It may sound dramatic, but that's how I feel. There is a famous saying that antiques are toys for adults. Finding and collecting antiques is to me what finding favorite toys is to kids. It makes life more exciting, with one surprise after another. "
With his fascination for Chinese culture and years of collecting experience, Wang Gang hopes his work will help more people see the beautiful, authentic works of their forefathers and remember their cultural legacies.