Artwork Description

Hung Liu – White Rice Bowl

Dimensions: 80 x 80″ finished size / 80 x 80″
Year: 1997
Medium: oil on canvas

Hung Liu one of the most important contemporary artists internationally. She has overcome great challenges in her life as well as in her artistic career. Forced to leave her home in Changchun, China, Liu went on to live in Beijing and was then sent to the Chinese countryside to endure forced labor during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. There, Liu witnessed unimaginable hardship, and she resolved to give them remembrance in her paintings. The calligraphic birds and fish you see in the painting are an allusion to the greatness of Chinese culture from the past. Two Sisters also incorporates Liu’s circle and the drips she deems the “weeping veil.” Liu uses the circle to represent the continuous cycle of life, and the drips symbolize how we become dulled to the realities of history, as time goes by. Liu asserts that historical memory is essential in transforming humanity for better.

Hung Liu is the subject of a major career retrospective at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in 2021, and her works are featured in more than 50 prestigious museum collections throughout the world.