Xu Longhua's Artist's Statement
"The Soul of Arkansas"
These paintings are my tribute to the America I am now part of. Some thirty years ago I left Shanghai, the world’s most populated city of more than 24 million people. I came to Hot Springs, a city of less than 50,000.
These paintings reflect my discoveries in that radical transition. Unlike the urgency, the conformity, and the pace of the urban life I knew, I discovered the essence of rural, small town America. I found acceptance and assistance from people unfamiliar with my Chinese background, yet willing to embrace me and my family. These paintings reflect the impressions Hot Springs has made on me.
The story is in the details. Bronze skin tanned by work in the sun. Wrinkles and veins on hands used to hard work. Strong bodies needed for manual labor. Smiles that beam with acceptance. I bring with me to America the Chinese culture’s respect for age. I find interest in the peoples’ activities, their thoughts, and the artifacts of their long lives. These are what inspire me to paint.