Gao Qiang, oil on canvas, 2003
In 1966, at the age of 72, Mao Zedong swam across the swirling Yangtze river. The goal of the dictatorial Chinese leader was to proof his fitness to his people, but the swim also had a political meaning.
Based on press photographs, Gao Qiang painted a series of ‘Swimming Mao’. With technical skill he created critical scenes in which Mao contrasts sharply with the bloody water around him. Since this event took place on the verge of the Cultural Revolution, the artist questions a ‘reality’. With this work Gao Qiang reminds us of the beginning of a cruel historical tipping point from the Chinese history.
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