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North West is joining the ranks of “classic” artists, at least she is in the eyes of mom Kim Kardashian.

Immortalizing her daughter’s Bob Ross-inspired painting — which caused an uproar about its authenticity a few weeks ago — Kardashian posted to her social media feed.

“Just had to post this bc it’s a North West Classic!” the proud mama, 40, wrote Tuesday alongside a photo of the art piece.

Earlier this month, TikTok user Camryn Fred took to the popular social media app shortly after fans began to question if 7-year-old North would be able to pull off the painting, explaining that West did indeed paint the impressive work under the instruction of Fred’s mother, an art teacher.

“My mom taught me how to do this, and she taught North how to do the same one two weeks ago,” Fred revealed. “She’s been an art teacher for 30 years, and everyone who comes to her classes goes through this exact same painting when they’re starting out.”

Before Fred came to the kid’s defense, Kardashian herself spoke up for her daughter.

“DON’T PLAY WITH ME WHEN IT COMES TO MY CHILDREN!!!” the Skims founder said on her Instagram story at the time. “My daughter and her best friend have been taking a serious oil painting class where their talents and creativity are being encouraged and nurtured.”

“North worked incredibly hard on her painting, which took several weeks to complete,” she continued. “As a proud mom, I wanted to share her work with everyone. I’m seeing op-ed pieces in the media and social media from grown adults breaking down whether or not my child actually painted this. How dare you see children doing awesome things and then try to accuse them of NOT being awesome!?!?!”

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How Chinas 1981 womens volleyballers inspired a billion

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On November 16, 1981, millions of people across China crowded around radios and televisions with flickering signals for a women's volleyball match whose significance went far beyond sport.

© STR China's women's volleyball team beat Japan to win the World Cup in 1981 © STR China's victory was celebrated as a national success story as it embarked on economic reforms

Firecrackers echoed into the night and many were left teary-eyed with joy as China beat Japan over five thrilling sets in Osaka to become World Cup champions for the first time.

The victory, over their hated wartime rivals and at a time when China rarely enjoyed sporting success outside of table tennis, made the women's volleyball team the pride of the nation.

It was also painted as symbolic at a time when China was embarking on the 'opening-up' reforms of Deng Xiaoping that would ultimately usher in a period of unprecedented economic growth.

© STR China beat Japan over five thrilling sets

Bai Guosheng, who was 19 and had just entered a sports institute in the northeastern city of Tianjin, remembers 60 or 70 others squeezed around a colour television, then a rare object in China.

Bai remembers the passion, the exuberant television commentary and how the viewers cheered every point.

© Kazuhiro NOGI China's captain Zhu Ting holds the trophy at the 2019 World Cup in Osaka

The television feed would often cut out, presenting the words, "Faulty signal, back in a moment".

But the students and budding athletes could see enough to know that China, inspired by players Sun Jinfang and "Iron Hammer" Lang Ping -- now coach of China's team -- had made history.

That they beat Japan made it all the sweeter.

"When I think of it now I still feel very emotional," said Bai, who is now curator of Tianjin Sports Museum.

"At that time we didn't want to be seen crying but I think I might have wiped away some tears."

Bai said that most in his college dormitory were so excited they could not sleep.

- Air of optimism -

China in 1981 was still recovering from Mao Zedong's chaotic Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976.

But after his death in 1976 the ruling Communist Party had launched the economic reforms that would propel China to where it is now -- the world's second-biggest economy and increasingly influential in international affairs.

Volleyball commentator Wang Zhe, who was eight in 1981, recalls a patriotic fervour and an air of optimism.

A front-page editorial in the China Daily urged people to "use the spirit of the women's volleyball team to carry out modernisation".

"China had emerged from the disaster caused by those catastrophic 10 years and embarked on the road of reform and opening-up for the development of the country and society," said Wang.

"The volleyball team winning the World Cup coincided with that time and greatly inspired one billion people."

The women's volleyball team tracked a similar upwards trajectory to China's economy, as the victory in Japan was the first of five World Cup titles, along with two World Championships and three Olympic golds.

The team today, led by captain and star player Zhu Ting, are feted as a symbol of Chinese sporting prowess. Defending their gold medal at this summer's Tokyo Olympics is a must.

A film, "Leap", was released to acclaim in China last year charting the fortunes of the team over three decades.

Those not born at the time sometimes watch footage of the 1981 game, highlighting its enduring resonance.

Bai and Wang said the 1981 team provided a benchmark that set China on a path to greater sporting success, culminating in them topping the medals table at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"That team played a leading role in the development, reform and opening-up of China's sports industry," said Bai.

"We have been in love with volleyball and the women's volleyball team ever since."


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