Liu, Ruowang  

 

劉若望 

 

I was born in the 1970s in a small village in Shaanxi, where I spent a sometimes gloomy, sometimes happy childhood.

As I recall, during my childhood our village had still not solved the problems of adequate food and warmth, we also didn’t have electricity. The only fun to be had was listening to my grandfather tell stories.

My grandfather was a learned and somewhat conservative man. Under his influence, during my childhood I read "Three Kingdoms", "Journey to the West", "Outlaws of the Marsh" and other classic works. I worshipped the heroes of these stories, and from then on I endlessly painted Guan Yu, The Monkey King, Lu Zhishen and the other heroes of my imagination. This played an important part in my personal enlightenment.

As I gradually grew up, I searched for knowledge so I could make a living. From classes at school I could only gain a superficial knowledge of Western art, repeatedly I tried and failed with these techniques, I couldn’t escape the influence of my childhood but at the same time, I felt that my earlier efforts were just childish doodles. They were not art, so they should be discarded. Through these years I struggled with contradictions – so-called meditation seeking enlightenment. I wandered around, trying to learn the essence of art; and I was miserable. Although most days I was hungry and I had no place to stay, I restrained myself from material pursuits and paid close attention to people’s spirit. “Sleep on brushwood and taste gall”, “Riding alone for thousands of miles” ---- Chinese people encourage this spirit, they are solemn and stirring, honest and unsophisticated with a vitally energetic nature. Throughout the ages, the Chinese people have remained the same.

In recent years, living in Beijing I have begun to think about ‘world affairs’, I have looked through a crack in the door and spied some of the changes in the world. In my understanding of the world, in the world of affairs, whether these affairs are good or bad, important, magnificent, tragic…they become the history of ordinary Chinese people. ‘Success and failures vanish when we turn our heads’, even magnificent events must tomorrow become the past – amid so many people, am I still sure which road to follow? 

Today I have already reached ‘the year when I took my stand’. It seems as if I have again returned to my childhood, I can go back to myself and resolve my childhood dreams of becoming a general. I will realize them through sculpture and painting and use art to relieve the pains and confusions of today.

 

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