Ruby Li Print


Artist: Ruby Li   

Title: Green Lion

Artist Statement: My oil paintings illustrate my process of relearning my Chinese culture and heritage, my relationship with which is ever-changing. Without the wisdom to understand why nor the vocabulary to express my discomfort, my younger self felt pressured to conceal parts of my identity in order to assimilate into western society. Between August and September this year, I solo travelled throughout China, reconnecting with family and making new friends while speaking my native language and dialect that I haven’t used in six years. This was one of my most memorable experiences yet, however it also raised confusing thoughts and questions about what my family and I sacrificed or gained through our decision to emigrate. Speaking with locals, I felt, in some ways, extremely privileged and humbled by their stories, but on the other hand, I mourn the parts of my culture that I will never truly understand. My paintings of guardian lions emerge from a place of trust and longing. These sculptures are usually found outside temples and palaces, however in today’s capitalist landscape they also guard banks and restaurants. I depict them as poised, powerful, and omniscient, but the flamboyant colours also suggest a degree of inauthenticity. I view the bright colours as obnoxious, definitely not that of traditional Chinese art despite the subject. This, and their simultaneously realistic and surrealistic qualities, is analogous to my experience as a person of colour which is inseparable from my westernised way of thinking and presenting myself.

Bio: Ruby Li is an oil painter from Auckland who lives and works in Melbourne. While she has been drawing all her life, in 2019, she discovered that the vibrancy of oil paint translated her ideas into a much more visually striking artwork. Drawing inspiration from her own life, whether it’s imagery she stumbles across on a normal day, during her travels, or more broadly to do with her identity as a queer woman of colour. The peculiar compositions and exaggerated colours present in her work encompass both realism and surrealism- the subjects are often detailed and life-like, however exist in odd environments or situations, and are composed of strange colours.

Year Created: 2020

A4 21cm x 29.7cm
A3 29.7 cm x 42cm
A2 42cm x 59.4cm

All prints are sold unframed. Each size is limited to 50 prints.

Paper Stock: Ilford 310gsm Galerie Smooth Cotton Rag (Fine art/giclee) 100% cotton rag, Archival, very smooth finish, water resistant, high colour consistency and gamut, heavy weight. Manufactured in United Kingdom.

Additional information

Weight N/A
Dimensions N/A
Print Size

A2, A3, A4