This was the first series of Chinese fine style ink paintings I made after I came to the US in 1996. The once “politically incorrect” subjects, such as the non-authorized use of leaders images, became my first areas of concern. The taboo images of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping were boldly used in my Three Generations series. As a Chinese artist living in America, I felt it was necessary to use this challenging subject to release my feelings of being bound under the artistic restrictions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Three Generations reflects the suffering and joy felt by both traditional and contemporary Chinese women (my grandmother, my mother and myself). I used birdcages and different kinds of shoes (grandmother’s foot-binding shoes, mother’s revolutionary cotton shoes and my Western influenced high-heel shoes) to symbolize how our physical as well as mental condition has dramatically changed through the generations. The birdcage represents the traditional patriarchal system as well as restrictions in contemporary society. The cage is an enclosed space with no freedom and little room for personal choice.
Since I came to live in America, I have been making “connections” between China and the US. This second series is about the duality in the personal and cultural realms. I attempt to show the differences and similarities between the two cultures by juxtaposing the daily used objects from my own perspective.