"Chairman Mao said, 'If you want to know the taste of the pear, you have to bite into it.' We tasted the pear of revolution through our sufferings in China. Since we moved to Canada, we've tasted another pear." -- Gu Xiong

Gu Xiong was born in Chongqing, China on November 3, 1953, and grew up there. The multi-media artist and art instructor came to Canada following the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, arriving in Banff on September 1, 1989. He was 36. He came to Vancouver on August 15, 1990. Initially he was a sanitation worker at a UBC cafeteria. He has since gained employment in the Fine Arts Department at UBC and has published a collection of drawings in The Yellow Pear (Arsenal Pulp / Burnaby Art Gallery $12.95, 1997) 1-55152-046-X. According to critic Max Wyman, his notes in the book reflect "the personal and social detail of the culture shock he and his family experienced in the past decade." The Yellow Pear features illustrations of common culture: car keys, hand dryers, telephones, toilets, etc., alongside text in English and Mandarin attempting to understand the new surroundings. "When living in one culture, you always dream of another, more ideal one than your own. However, after you have experienced this other culture, your dreams of it are broken by a strange, new-found reality.";

As well, Gu Xiong has provided the illustrations for a children's book, The Boy in the Attic (Groundwood, 1998), with text by Paul Yee. His art has been collected by the National Gallery of Chine and the National Gallery of Canada, and other museums around the world. He lives in Vancouver with his wife and daughter.
[Art / BCBW 2003]