The Mural Painting Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) is the earliest department founded for the major of mural painting among academies of fine arts in China. In early 1979, in order to adapt to the social needs of rapid development of urban public environment construction, and led by Professor Hou Yimin, CAFA prepared and established a mural research group in the Oil Painting Department, which in the same year, is changed into a mural research office. In 1980, it began to enroll undergraduates, postgraduates and foreign students. In 1988, the Mural Painting Department was officially established with the approval of Ministry of Education. Since its establishment, it has been making efforts to revive the glorious historical traditions of China’ mural painting and drawing on the advantages of contemporary mural painting and the public environmental art from all counties in the world. In the practice of creating teaching and research with national and contemporary characteristics, the department constantly sums up experience and lessons, enrich and adjust the knowledge structure of discipline, and gradually formulate its own teaching system, developing a large number of outstanding professional art workers for the prosperity of contemporary mural painting and public environment art creation. The Mural Painting Department of CAFA has gained a leading position in the field of China’s contemporary mural painting and has played a model role in the establishment of the mural major for the academies of fine arts in China. The successive department directors are Hou Yimin, Li Huaji, Liang Yunqing, Sun Jingbo, Cao Li. And Tang Hui is acting as the director at present time.
In recent years, the Mural Painting Department has participated in the implementation of many major projects and made important contributions to the economic and cultural development of the country and the regions. The achievements of these major projects have increased the visibility and influence of the Mural Painting Department. The national and regional projects are: project of artwork allocation of Central Gifts and Cultural Relics Management Center, project of mural painting for Vietnam-China Friendship Palace , project of design improvement for the Fifth Series of Renminbi, project of design for mass parade float on National Day, project of mural painting for International Horticultural Exhibition,Beijing, China, project of gift design for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of founding of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, project of mural painting for Yan'an Grand Theater, and project of mural painting for Zhongshan Memorial Library, etc. Projects on painting countryside beauty are: project on painting the beauty of Dashuiyu Village, Beijing and project on painting the beauty of Longwan Village, Hunan, etc. Subway projects are: Beijing Subway, Shenzhen Subway and Jinan Subway, etc.
The Mural Painting Department follows the studio system in terms of teaching structure, with five studios and one material studio.
The First Studio: studio for traditional mural painting. This studio is committed to creating a group of new mural painting talents in the teaching and creative practice, enabling them to inherit the past and carry forward the cause for the future, with researching and inheriting Chinese traditional mural painting as the core.
The Second Studio: studio for contemporary mural painting and public art. This studio is dedicated to the research of thematic mural painting and large-scale art in contemporary public spaces and the development of creative talents. It highlights the ability to use multiple forms of language in teaching, emphasizes the themes of social life, and reflects the spirit of the times in art creation and research.
The Third Studio: experimental studio for contemporary mural painting. In the profound traditional cultural background and broad international perspective, this studio is committed to maintaining the traditional advantages of CAFA, upholding the spirit of openness and integration, exploring modes for experimental public environmental art education, and cultivating general talents with ideas and responsibility.
The Fourth Studio: studio for Chinese humanities and mural painting art. This studio is committed to cultivating high-level art talents who possess solid traditional artistic skills and profound traditional artistic accomplishment, understand both Eastern and Western art forms, take composition of multiple painting languages as the research subject, and integrate multiple ways of artistic expression.
The Fifth Studio: studio for material innovation and expansion in the creation of public mural painting. This studio is committed to cultivating public art practice talents who understand Chinese society, explore the construction of Chinese urban and rural cultures, possess the ability to create traditional and contemporary materials and languages, and engage in the orientation of interdisciplinary public art creation based on multi-media research.
The Objective of Talent Cultivation：
To cultivate professional art creation talents who can lead the times and create world-class mural art and public art works.
To cultivate talents in teaching and research on mural art and fine arts.
To cultivate art talents with broad vision, active thinking, abundant creativity, and social responsibility.
To cultivate students to systematically master basic theories and professional knowledge of mural painting, architecture and environmental art and study the use of various materials for mural painting creation.
To cultivate students to create artistic works with diversity, public welfare and rich connotation and encourage students to combine creative enthusiasm and thinking vitality with the spirit of the times and social needs to improve aesthetic taste and appreciation.
To cultivate students to master the basic laws and diverse techniques of artistic performance and attach importance to the development of comprehensive quality, advocate the awareness of art works, creation and design in teaching, and respect and discover the personality and special skill of students, highlighting the principle of teaching students in accordance with their aptitude.