Hung Liu: The Chinese-American Artist
By: Daniel Cagape
“The mind changes, the word changes, time doesn't stay still, history is a verb, it is ongoing, there is no past tense, future tense, history is constant” Hung Liu told interviewer Rachelle Riechart (Riechart). Hung Liu is a Chinese woman who was born in Changchun, China in 1948. She was born during the age which we call the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which heavily impacted her life. She lived in China for 36 years and then left for the United States. She now resides in Oakland, CA, where she teaches art at Mills College (“A World of Art”). A lot of her artwork is based on photographs and memories she has from China and photographs she’s taken in the United States. She takes photographs of pictures, repaints them, usually oil paint on canvas, and slightly alters them by leaving washes and drips to show how history can’t be remembered fully from a picture. She also does artwork for American history such as a piece she did in South Carolina for Chinese people who owned laundry mats (Riechart). I find most of Hung Liu’s artwork to be very historical and personal, because most of her artwork comes from her own photographs. I’d like to focus on how she addresses the struggles of being an immigrant throughout the country, how Hung Liu maintains her cultural traditions in almost all of her artwork, and how she defines the word “history”. Hung Liu came to the United States during the 1980s, which was a rough time to be Asian in the United States. During this time we were having a recession and many auto industries were going out of business due to Japanese imports. Aside from that, it was not too long after the Vietnam War had ended. Many factors contributed to the racism targeted against Asian-Americans. Although it was the Japanese making the cars and the Vietnamese during the war, ignorant Americans would rationalize by saying they all look the same and would blame Chinese, Filipinos or...
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Yung, Judy, Gordon H. Chang, and H. Mark. Lai. Chinese American Voices: From the Gold Rush to the Present. Berkeley: University of California, 2006. Print.
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