Exhibition of the Month: Mao’s Golden Mangoes

The China Institute in New York is currently shining a light on the unlikely moment when the humble mango became a symbol of revolutionary zeal. The story begins in 1968, when an ambassadorial delegation from Pakistan brought Mao Zedong a basket of fresh mangoes, their national fruit. As a symbol of his benevolence during a crucial moment in the establishment of the Cultural Revolution, the … Continue reading Exhibition of the Month: Mao’s Golden Mangoes

Recommended: Cold War Bunkers – East and West

Recently the public got its first glance inside Albania’s most important Cold War era bunker, located just outside the Albanian capital of Tirana. Built 100m below ground between 1972 and 1978, the top secret complex boasts 106 rooms over five storeys. It also features a bedroom with red satin sheets for former communist dictator Enver Hoxha, as the bunker was intended to house the government … Continue reading Recommended: Cold War Bunkers – East and West

Exhibition of the Month: Post Pop: East Meets West

The Saatchi Gallery in London seeks to build on its successful exhibitions of recent Russian and Chinese art – including 2008’s The Revolution Continues: New Chinese Art and 2012’s Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art, 1960–80s – with a show that combines the two. While the title of Post Pop: East Meets West suggests the two sides of the former iron curtain joining in a shared … Continue reading Exhibition of the Month: Post Pop: East Meets West

Youth Mao Zedong Statue

On 1 October 1949 Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Over the next half a century the country witnessed the trauma of the Great Leap Forward and social upheaval of the Cultural Revolution, and gradually progressed to become a superpower. Although now a technologically-advantaged nation with a booming economy, the visual culture of Mao’s China continues to loom large … Continue reading Youth Mao Zedong Statue

Painting the Tiananmen Square Massacre

On 4 June the world remembers the Tiananmen Square Massacre, 25 years ago. One Chinese artist with a vivid memory of that day is Chen Guang. In 1989 he was one of the soldiers sent to suppress the pro-democracy student demonstrations and witnessed the violence that left hundreds dead. The trauma of that day continues to have a profound effect on his life. Later in … Continue reading Painting the Tiananmen Square Massacre

Recommended Read: Propaganda: Power and Persuasion

David Welch. Propaganda: Power and Persuasion. London: British Library Publishing, 2013. Although the British Library’s fascinating exploration of Propaganda: Power and Persuasion closed last month in exhibition form, the eponymous catalogue is still available to introduce people to this elusive term which has dominated so much of human experience over the last century. Authored by David Welch, Professor of Modern History at the University of … Continue reading Recommended Read: Propaganda: Power and Persuasion

Andy Warhol and the Cult of Mao

On 1 October 1949 Mao Zedong proclaimed the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, with himself as its sole leader. A highly-controversial figure, at turn venerated and castigated, Chairman Mao conspired in his own mythologisation by developing an all-encompassing cult of personality. In 1972 Andy Warhol produced a series of prints entitled Mao to coincide with US President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China. Warhol … Continue reading Andy Warhol and the Cult of Mao