“My path through life has been adventurous, exciting, and dream-like. My experience of settling into America in search of better opportunities has been both challenging and inspiring. I use the human face as a vehicle to paint human experiences – worry and wonder, sadness and pleasure – which reflect the emotional stage directly tied to my immigration experiences.
I grew up amongst the sunflower fields in northern China. In my childhood years, I played under the bright, yellow sunflowers with my brothers everyday. China’s Cultural Revolution played an important part in my life. During that time, sunflowers were used as political allegories to depict how citizens of China should follow Mao who represented the sun, since sunflowers follow the sun’s movements. People eventually inferred the deception that this symbol masked. After graduating from high school, I was sent to a labor camp in the country for ‘reeducation’ during China’s Cultural Revolution. There, I was subject to grueling farm work. Often, I worked in corn and sunflower fields from sunrise to sunset. Thus, for me, sunflowers evoke both personal joy and sadness. Therefore, to deliver my complex feelings, I use sunflowers as a metaphor to connote my background and emotional stage.
My incorporation of collages of figures from China’s Tang Dynasty represents my Chinese heritage and is a constant reminder of where I came from. The texture and earthiness on the canvas’s surface are inspired by the texture of the soil on the farm where I worked in China.
Although I often gain great pleasure from the process of painting, it is most important to unfold expressively those feelings within myself.”