Hung Liu – Curiosity
Dimensions: 36 x 36″ finished size / 36 x 36″ unframed
Medium: oil on linen
“Curiosity” by Hung Liu displays a young girl clutching a small cat to her chest. The child peers inquisitively at something just beyond the frame, her eye brows arched and her lips slightly parted in wonder. The soft pink and gold that compose the color scheme of the piece suggest a benign innocence, shedding light on the unremitting childhood sense of curiosity that carries youths through daily life.
Hung Liu first discovered the Dorothea Lange photographic archive in 2015. She immediately became fascinated by the struggles of the migrants in Lange’s Dust Bowl Era photographs. Liu is empathetic because like them, Hung Liu herself was forced to leave her home during the Cultural Revolution of her childhood in China. And ironically, like Dorothea Lange, Hung Liu used a camera (in Liu’s case a smuggled one) to document the struggles of the people she encountered during that time. This painting shows Liu’s fascination with the way we care for one another, even when we can barely care for ourselves. Liu explores the sensitivity of children in her current body of work titled “Catcher in the Rays.” Inspired by “Catcher in the Rye,” in which Catcher is the child who tries desperately to keep civilization from falling into an abyss, Liu paints children as resilient guides to show humanity a positive way forward.
By Sally Sasz, Morehead-Cain Scholar, Art History/English student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill