By Demi Guo
The Gold Coast Arts Center’s first exhibition of Chinese artists kicked off with a reception on Sunday, in hopes of showcasing unique artistic styles and showing the community it is embraced in Great Neck.
The paintings of eight artists draw from contemporary and traditional styles, influenced by the cultures not only of the old country but the Chinese diaspora.
“This is to let them know that they’re part of our community,” gallery director Jude Amsel said. She expressed ambitions to host exhibitions every year at the arts center in Great Neck, including Asian artists beyond Chinese.
Some of the artists are volunteer teachers at the Long Island School of Chinese. The art of one of these teachers, Shi Xiangdong, is the first display to greet visitors at the entrance. He oil painted Chinese dishes.
“What we portray here is Chinese culture,” he said, by using something simple and so universal, even westerners would immediately recognize subjects such as mapo tofu. At the same time, he said, the food appeals to those who grew up eating it at home.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re an American-born Chinese or Chinese from China, he said. “The moment you see this spread, you’ll be drooling for it.”
The gallery extends to the end of the hall, where the couple Wei Hai and Huang Yulin’s paintings hang on perpendicular walls.
Their background, Wei explained, is that they spent a significant amount of time in a program painting alongside children. While the children learned from them, they also learned from their perspective.
“Therefore, we break everything down and express the world as we see it, regardless of what it actually looks like,” he said.
While his style portrayed a lamb and a tiger — animals commonly found in art due to being in the Chinese zodiac — in black and white swirls and patterns, Huang’s was a shock of primary colors. One portrays Dunhuang, a historical city on the Silk Road, while the other shows their first impression of the Lunar New Year celebration in Flushing.
“We moved here recently,” said Wei, a native of Beijing.
The gallery is open for viewing until March 30.