Hung Liu – Migrant Child: with Cat
Dimensions: 32 x 31″ paper / 26 x 26″ plate
Medium: archival pigment print with gold leaf
“Migrant Child: Cat” is one of Liu’s series of paintings depicting endearing moments shared between children and animals. In this piece, a young boy cradles a cat in his arms, gazing at the creature in loving admiration. Liu utilizes the exposed vibrant color-contour lines to imbue the scene with an even stronger sense of positive vitality. Presented on a glowing, gold leaf backdrop, this monotype captures the undying youthful sense of optimism to care for others even in the bleakest of circumstances.
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