RENOWNED as one of China’s top ten oil painters, Chen Guang Ming sees himself as an artist with a mission – to represent the hard life of ordinary workers, and to use the form of art to fulﬁl his ‘duty’ to his countrymen. From peasants to coal miners, Chen’s subjects are China’s voiceless workers left behind in the march to modernism. As a people’s artist, Chen uses the power of the paintbrush to shed light on dark corners of life and, through his exhibitions, communicate their plight to a wider audience. ‘My subject matter centres on the plight and everyday life of ordinary workers,’ he said during an exhibition of his work in October 2008 at the Wellington Gallery on Wyndham Street in Hong Kong. For his series Miners, Chen spent months in northern China, visiting coal mines and getting to know the men who work them, sharing food and water and conversation until he felt able to accurately commit to canvas lives unimaginable to outsiders.