The exhibition also includes examples of more traditional Chinese arts, including painting and some exquisite paper cuts. One painting that caught my eye was “On the Banks of the Yangtze River” by Song Weuzhi. The scene is classically Chinese - rugged outcrops of rock topped with lush green vegetation rise out of the river-mist, but the valleys are crammed with oil refineries and the great river is busy with ships.
If you visit this exhibition, it is worth taking time to visit the permanent display of Chinese Paintings in Gallery 11 on the ground floor. Many of these paintings, wood prints and ink drawings also date from the 1960s and 1970s and some feature similar subjects, but without the guiding hand of the state propagandists. Entry to both collections is free and could easily be fitted in to a lunchtime visit. The first acts as a timely reminder of the way in which tyrants from the time of the pharaohs to the most contemporary dictator have always sought to subvert art to promote their own versions of the truth. The second acts as a reminder that they generally fail.