Before the Storm

‘Before the storm’ attempts to capture the transient nature of a girl’s youth to seize the innocent beauty of a girl before she  was becoming a woman in a painting. At that time she had no knowledge of her fate. She was unavoidably to dragged into the red revolution, one of the darkest periods in Chinese history, in which anything related to beauty is to blame and there is no room for any kind of humanity.

She grew up in a wealthy family in China, this image of her can be traced back to 1930’s’ Shanghai, where she left the well known McTyeire School, the same girl’s school from which the Soong sisters (宋氏三姐妹) graduated. Since then she always only wore the Chinese national dress: Cheongsam. It was an unique Chinese style in the world at the time.

It caught my eye having noticed this image many years ago. I have appreciated much variety of beauty in life but never could make a comparison with this image. The purity and natural beauty all blessing in her innocent face. I tried my best to transfer this glamour element into an art form, but there are limits to the degree of her appearance and soul that I could truly trace onto the wooden panel as a painting.

For the art work, I used many single cotton threads to wrap up the entire painting, when all the cotton threads join together, they create another space over the painting acting like a protective see-through curtain behind which stands the shy and innocent girl.

A single string of cotton thread seems to look weak and fragile but when they are multiplied together, the construction becomes a great curtain of defence and protection just like a fortress.

The girl looks out through the see-through panel with her eyes of curiosity, like the thread, she might look delicate and fragile but when the time comes, she would prove her strength to face her unknown destiny and all the difficulties of life just like many of the Chinese people whom were being swallowed into a whirlpool of history unknown.