On Friday, January 19, 2018, the LAB program presented works by painter Jinyu Li. A two-time QCA SU-CASA artist-in-residence, Jinyu's presentation explored Chinese traditional culture and politics. Much of her work reflects the relationship between nature and man and human rights issues in China.
"In traditional Chinese culture, there is a core concept, 'Harmony between Heaven and Mankind.' If a man acknowledges Heaven, then he must acknowledge Divine, and when his mind is in line with Heaven’s rules, he can seek the harmony between Heaven and himself," says Jinyu. "All aspects of traditional Chinese culture are connected with Heaven, such as the human body, Yin and Yang, the Five Elements, Bagua, Taji, Hetu, Luoshu, Chinese traditional medicine, Chinese characters, Chinese music, so on and so forth. Traditional Chinese culture believes human body is a small universe."
Jinyu wanted to use LAB as an opportunity to share her work and story with a larger American audience and solicit feedback that would help drive her work in the future. She exhibited almost 20 of her paintings via a projected slideshow and also installed several large scale original works. Jinyu's paintings ranged in a variety of styles including traditional Chinese painting and realism.
Some of her paintings featured images of Chinese royalty and deities, bamboo and lotus flowers, and more mundane aspects of daily life in China. But the work that Jinyu was most passionate about focused on issues related to the persecution of practitioners of Falun Dafa in China.
“According to reliable statistics, more than 80 million Chinese people were slaughtered by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Especially after the Great Culture Revolution, traditional Chinese culture became almost extinct. And the slaughtering is still going on- countless Falun Gong practitioners have been jailed, tortured, and killed in mainland China,” says Jinyu.
She shared her own journey from China through Canada and into the United States, and talked about why and how she has used her art as a tool for activism.