Hung Liu – Habit
Dimensions: 48 x 48″ finished size
Medium: oil on canvas
Hung Liu’s paintings always present a look into humanity. Whether a Chinese subject or an American one inspired by Dorothea Lange’s photographs, Liu presents us with a mirror into our shared human experience. This painting, created during 2020 in the midst of a world -wide pandemic, features a young girl looking the viewer straight in the eye with a sense of reassurance that can only come from someone who knows the difficulties of human life can be overcome.
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.
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.