Strokes of Inspiration

李英偉 等待後花園 No.36 Waiting for the Backyard No. 36 (LAST PAGE)-656.jpg

" 李英偉 等待後花園 No.36 | Waiting for the Backyard No. 36"  (Click here to view the enlarged version)

We contemplate the profound message behind Li Ying-wei’s painting in celebration of Hong Kong Arts Month


Inspired by memories of his childhood in China’s Jilin Province, artist Li Ying-wei painted “No. 36 Waiting for the Backyard No. 36” to get people thinking about the human condition.

The imaginary scene is loaded with symbolism. Li’s depictions of ruin and decay are juxtaposed with his memories of the area’s natural beauty, which quickly became ravaged by heavy industrialization in the 1950s that left a landscape scarred by abandoned factories and derelict buildings in its wake.

“The merry-go-round on the right represents the artist’s happy memories, as this place was once like his playground,” Mei Chen from Taiwan’s Artnutri Gallery said at Art Central, “but now it’s the opposite of what it once was, full of trash and damage.”

In this piece Li reflects on the relationship of coexistence between humans and the environment, and the drivers behind human ambition.

“He wants us to wonder ‘what will be left in our hearts and minds when there is nothing left to build?’” Chen said.

Li believes that everything, including humans, will eventually return to nature for answers, like an inevitable rebirth, she said.

“Nature embraces all things, good and bad,” Chen said, pointing to the middle section of the painting: It is bright, the shade of optimism.