Tian Xia (Summer)

China is a noisy and lively country. Chinese people love to be surrounded by each other. Traditional festivals and the celebrations that accompany them have not been discarded, but have intensified through time. When I first came to the U.S. four years ago, I was homesick and felt extremely alone. With no family and friends around, food from my mother country became a great spiritual comfort for me. Missing the food of my homeland, I started to learn how to cook. I also began to paint the food I loved.

I started with smaller paintings of isolated food including pork belly, soup, and mochi bread. Working in a representational style, I enjoy painting the details of color and texture of this food. I have also challenged myself with larger more complicated paintings. The largest food painting depicts a traditional Chinese hot pot, the most popular food in China. It is also an example of the “heat” of the Chinese people. A unique food, hot pot has a long history. A hot pot generally refers to a cooking method in which a pot is used as an appliance and set on the heat source. The water or soup inside is boiled to cook various types of food. It is consumed while cooking, so that food is still hot and fresh.

The pot that I have depicted is the most popular flavor in China – spicy hot pot. The meat and vegetables on the plates that surround the pot are raw and added to the pot by each individual. The white background in my painting helps the viewer focus solely on the food. The ideas behind my paintings are to show real Chinese food to: help a viewer learn more about Chinese culture; feel the liveliness of China; think about time with people and food; warm your heart.

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