70-year-old Graduates From Top Art School

BY:Zhou Yingzhen

Edited BY:Li Shiyu



It's never too late to accomplish your dreams. This proved true for a 70-year-old woman living in east China's Shanghai. In June this year, Xu Anling, who has profound interests in learning painting, finished her study journey from beginning to the cap and gown.
Xu graduated from the China Academy of Art, one of China's top art schools, with her second bachelor's degree in Chinese painting. Earlier in 2019, she earned her first bachelor's degree in the college's calligraphy major, 10 years after she was first accepted into the academy. 

Born in 1951, Xu has always been keen to paint and draw her hometown with pencils since a young age. She used to work as an engineer and taxi driver for a living, and the hustle and bustle took up most of her time. She felt she had to give up her art dream. 


When she finally entered the university, Xu Anling had to deal with not only the age gap dilemma when studying with young people, but also the heavy pressure of academic burden.
"The flowers and birds in Chinese painting are ever-changing while the teacher requires that the drawing be made without modification, which is particularly difficult for me," Xu said. While other students practice 3-4 hours a day, she could only keep up with her studies by practicing for more hours.


During that time, she would spend her whole evening practicing in the studio. Every night, she practiced until midnight and slept on a cot in the classroom. At 5:00 am the next day, she would get up to start all over again. She was always the first one to arrive to the class and the last one to leave.
In 2020, the school dormitory was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Xu Anling had to commute between home and the studio, which took her three hours a day on the road. "There is no other way, except to practice more with diligence," she said. When it comes to her future plans, Xu said that she will continue studying and that age is never a problem!


The story of this elderly woman naturally inspired many others to pursue their dreams. "Thumbs up for her! She is my role model," said one netizen. "Once you have a dream and fight for it, you may harvest it to the very end."