Born and grew up in Beijing China, studied and lived in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, traveled to many counties in Asia, Europe and South (Central) America and now I have lived in Silicon Valley for over 11 years. I am always interested in different cultures, different people and different food, no political interest at all. America, is one of the biggest countries with multi-cultural identity and we all admire it. If we only could understand each other from the one universal language - Love; if we could treat each just only one race - the human race. But now in the 21st century, I would never have thought I could be so confused by the question of race in the art world. Here is where my confusion comes from.
Being FAA members, we all know that we can "Favorite" other artists' work, and make a "Watch List" for the artists whoever we like simply by clicking the buttons. One day, I received an email from a FAA member, from the portfolio photo I could tell that this talented artist was black. In the email, this artist was not happy and question about why I didn't have any black artist in my Favorite area. Back then, my favorite paintings were more than 30 pages, not mention English is my 2nd language, I am from a different culture. Some artists didn't used their face as the portfolio photos either. And when I see beautiful work, I just click the button, who would pay too much attention for the background? So, I explained to this artist. The email response back to me again was why I did not put any black artist on my Watch List since I was involved into some black people's art projects. Oh well, I didn't know my Watch List was so important and was being investigated. So, I took the wise advice and found a couple of my favorite black artists and added them into my Watch List.
OK, peaceful for a while. I just love to paint and contribute my artistic expression to the public. Interestingly I noticed a "Black is beautiful" ( I really believe so) contest was almost closed. I quickly added a couple of my portraits of black people to the contest. Very soon I received an "Urgent" titled email from the Contest Administrator who was white too, mentioning very politely that I wasn't qualified for this contest because I wasn't black. Sure, I removed my paintings since I might have misread one important rule "Black artists only". After, I saw a couple of Indian artists were still in the contest I wondered who are they, are they called black from their genetic anscestory? How odd I thought, that a white contest administrator would display a sample painting created by a white artist, for a contest in which only black artists were allowed to participate.
Well, rules are rules which human beings make, and we'd better follow them to help us not get into any trouble in our society. At the same time I think "wait a second," this is America which is one of the main countries to protect Human Rights and thinks of itself as setting a good example for the world. Do we have to continue purposely separating ourselves by race or building a human barrier? We all know that we should learn from some miserable mistakes in the history, so why do some people still have the race division so strongly in their minds, even in the art world? But who am I, where should I belong to, do I have to only paint landscape which is the safest subject? Is that all just because I am not black nor white???
I've been around. I believe a majority of people can live together and get along peacefully! Please don't take my post the wrong way - I just want to share my little thought and then I created this painting called "In Harmony".