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Ying Li

ARTIST STATEMENT

On The Dragon Fruit for Chairman Mao-

I remember at the beginning of the "Cultural Revolution”, Chairman Mao, the dictator of China, received some tropical fruit from Sihanouk, the ruler of Cambodia, as gift of friendship.  It became a big news in the media. I had not seen any tropical fruit at that time and was fascinated by the exotic look of them in the newspaper. After I emigrated to the States I was equally amazed that they are regular items on the shelves in supermarkets, shops and fruit stands on streets. Recently I traveled to the Blue Ridge Mountains to do a landscape project. We were staying in Otto, a small town in North Carolina, and amazingly found a large selection of tropical fruit-mangos, pineapples, papaya, Dragon fruit. I remembered the fuss made by Chairman Mao about the tropical fruit, so I painted this and named it "The Dragon Fruit for Chairman Mao". Mao was a dragon in the way he ruled China.

on Watermelon 1968-

When John invited me to participate in this show and told me the theme of the show was Asian food, that triggered my memory and brought me right back to my childhood in China. I grew up in China under the communist regime. in 1968, soon after the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” started I was separated from my parents and sent to rural farmland in Anhui Province and forced to labor and be “re-educated”. Food was scarce at the time. Before I was sent away my mother managed to get a big watermelon. She cut it in half, my sister and I each had a half. We ate it with a spoon. Watermelon 1968 is the memory of that moment.

Home Cooking curated by John Yau 
October 23 - December 5, 2021