New York, NY- Covid-19 has brought issues to our society, including health, economy, finance, and more. Among these issues, racial conflict is one of the devastating problems in the States. Xianglong Li, a New York-based artist, wants to make changes.
“As a Chinese artist living in Brooklyn, I felt not only lonely but also angry.” Xianglong Li said, as a former U.S. President, Donald Trump, constantly intensified racial tensions by claiming China is the origin of Coronavirus. The Asian community in the United States has been subjected to many injustices and persecutions since the outbreak of Covid-19.
As an artist, Xianglong understands his responsibility and that good artwork is the most effective tool to make his voice heard. His exhibition “Stay Home, Make Your Contribution to The Society” concretized his message to the public, followed by the lockdown policy and increasing racial conflicts. He believes that the pandemic will become less dreadful if people unite, quarantine themselves at home, and respect health workers’ sacrifices. He hopes to encourage people to rethink these conflicts and find the unique value that each individual can contribute through his works.
Elements from traditional Chinese culture are also utilized by Xianglong Li in this exhibition. He used couplets to demonstrate his thesis in the collection. “I hope my work would warn people to avoid traveling and deduce outdoor activities during the pandemic period.” He explained. Xianglong believes that couplets — a traditional Chinese art form — are able to leave a huge space for people to think and imagine.
A combination of language elements, including animation, pop culture and social news, can be observed in Xianglong’s creation. He mixes popular elements with inspirations from life to symbolize generation Z while expressing vitality and empathy to the audience.
Another Xianglong Li’s exhibition is called “Standing Out, the Outstandings”, presented by The Asian Creative Foundation. His work “Pulling A Tooth from A Tiger’s Mouth” was displayed. During the pandemic, Li rethinks the tensions between the U.S. and China. Tiger here represents China, and pulling a tooth from a “Chinese” tiger suggests that Western countries have slandered China since the beginning of Covid-19. Xianglong wants to teach the Western audience to learn Chinese critically and humorously, which is why his exhibitions use lots of hilarious metaphors in a serious manner.
Xianglong Li has been an international student here in the States since 2019. He has witnessed amounts of mistranslations and misunderstandings between English and Chinese. He decided to do a series of “Learning Chinese” videos with animation to teach nonnative speakers to learn and use these Chinese words correctly to avoid conflicts.
“I would like to show the beautiful language of my country through my work and express my respect for the culture, which is my task and mission.” Xianglong Li shared.