New Year is the most important day in Chinese culture. Like Thanksgiving, in the U.S., it is a time for homecoming. Mao Zedong sent the Red Guards to the country to help the framers, saying that they were the future of China. When the Cultural Revolution ended, and all those Red Guards went home, the rest of the world had passed them by because, having given up everything, including eduction, they returned to no future at all. Zhang, whose sister was one of those Red Guard girls pays tribute to them, in his series, as he shamefully observes them back in town, today, sweeping streets or pushing fruit carts. In this painting, away from friends and family, in the middle of nowhere, questioning her life, the emotion is definitiely not one of a happy new year.
Our coworker, Yu Lin, was the model for the painting, which was paintined on location, in the countryside, outside of Guangzhou, China.