Sheng Qi, born in 1965, came to public attention in 1985 as a member of China's "New Art Movement;" he was also involved in the Student's Movement, which ended with the tragic Tiananmen Square Massacre. Disheartened by the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Sheng Qi cut off his little finger and burried it in a flower pot before leaving China for Rome. However, Sheng Qi continues to draw on Chinese culture and history for inspiration despite his overwhelming anguish; it is easy to sense an inherent love--an thus, concern--for China in his art. Sheng Qi's art depicts the feelings of Chinese diasporics accurately: it is difficult to love a country whose history has been riddled with violence; yet, it is impossible to hate the country from which you came. Sheng Qi's paintings depict images of suffering--one painting illustrates hungry children--to images of pride--another painting pertains to China's first astronaut. The artist reminds his viewers that China and Chinese feeling is complex and cannot be reduced to anything but an image that records what the eye sees and the heart feels.
Unfortunately, Sheng Qi's site, fourfinger.net, is down. I do not know if the downtime is due to censorship, but I hope his site will be back online in the future. Many of his works, including sculpture work, is available for viewing at 798 Avant Gallery, which exhibits contemporary Chinese artists. You can contact him through his e-mail address, shengqi110 @ yahoo . com . cn.
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