The Art of Resistance Painting by Candlelight in Mao's China

Shelley Drake Hawks

The Art of Resistance surveys the lives of seven painters-Ding Cong (1916-2009), Feng Zikai (1898-1975), Li Keran (1907-89), Li Kuchan (1898-1983), Huang Yongyu (b. 1924), Pan Tianshou (1897-1971), and Shi Lu (1919-82)-during China's Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), a time when they were considered counterrevolutionary and were forbidden to paint. Drawing on interviews with the artists and their families and on materials collected during her visits to China, Shelley Drake Hawks examines their painting styles, political outlooks, and life experiences.

These fiercely independent artists took advantage of moments of low surveillance to secretly "paint by candlelight." In doing so, they created symbolically charged art that is open to multiple interpretations. The wit, courage, and compassion of these painters will inspire respect for the deep emotional and spiritual resonance of Chinese art.

Hawks ArtResistance cov 1


  • $65.00 cloth, 9780295741956
  • $65.00 ebook, 9780295741963
  • 304 pages
  • 96 color illus., 7 x 10 in.

Content Excerpt

Table of Contents

About the Media

about the author

Shelley Drake Hawks teaches art history and world history at Middlesex Community College in Bedford and Lowell, Massachusetts. She earned a master's degree in East Asian studies at Harvard University and a doctorate in Chinese history at Brown University. She previously taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Photograph by Jack Demuth.