Hung Liu – Sanctuary
Dimensions: 80 x 72 x 2″
Medium: oil and gold leaf on canvas
Hung Liu Sanctuary was featured in her career retrospective at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in 2021-2022. The painting is inspired by a Dorothea Lange photograph from 1935, titled “Mexican Mother in California.” The Library of Congress documentation adds “Sometimes I tell my children that I would like to go to Mexico, but they tell me ‘We don’t want to go, we belong here.'”
Liu painted her “Sanctuary” in 2019, when migrants were traveling by foot all the way from Guatemala and other Central American countries, , through Mexico in order to cross the U.S. border at record rates. Hung Liu paints “Sanctuary” as a reminder that all human beings, regardless of race or status, should be given the grace of hope. She also reminds us of our interconnected reality by presenting the quintessential mother and child image, which she has painted with Chinese and Black migrant workers, as well as this image of the Mexican mother and child.