Hailan Gong, Chinese

Hailan Gong

A child of China's Cultural Revolution, his childhood reading was Mao's Little Red Book and his music was the operas of Madame Mao. He saw his father, a professor, sent to labor camps for "re-education." But in his mind and soul, individualism was alive and well. He began to draw.

The system sent Hailan to art school, where he was trained in ancient Chinese and classical art. He graduated with honors from the Shanghai Academy of Arts, earned a Masters Degree, and went on to paint portraits of Mao Tse-tung and landscapes of the proletariat at work.

Western ideology became increasingly influential in Hailan's artistic development. In 1983, he and seven artist friends defied Communist authority with a public exhibition of their work in Shanghai Park. The show was dismantled. Hailan and his friends were blacklisted. Just a few months later, Hailan went to Japan. He came to the United States in 1990.

Today, Hailan is a successful artist, renown in the U.S., Japan, France, Belgium, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and, finally, in his homeland of China.

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