Professor invited to world-renowned art show

September 17, 2012

Xiao artworkAssociate Art Professor Xiaohong Zhang, known for her artistry in paper cutting, has been selected to participate in one of the largest and most competitive art shows in the world.

The UW-Whitewater faculty member has been invited to display her work at the 2012 Beijing International Art Biennale. The show features 262 artists from around the world, including 16 from the United States. Running from Sept. 28-Oct. 22, the exhibition is held at the National Art Museum of China and is sponsored by the Chinese government.

"When I got the acceptance letter, I almost threw it away thinking that it was a rejection letter," said Zhang. "I never expected to get in, but I am so honored and excited that I did."

The exhibition's theme for this year is "future and reality." Zhang's piece, created in 2008, is titled "American Zodiac" and features 12 cartoon animals that represent the Chinese calendar. The artwork is printed on Japanese rice paper. (A portion of the work is pictured at right).

Although her style is sometimes considered to be traditional large-scale northern Chinese paper cutting, Zhang said that it's really more of a convergence between old and new.

"Everyone has their own unique style. My style consists of traditional Chinese culture meeting the Western culture of digital skills; I primarily use my computer to create, and then add in the traditional aspects as I go," she said.

Zhang, who will attend the first week of the show, says she will enjoy meeting with other accomplished artists.

"I am most looking forward to learning something new from world-renowned artists. Just the opportunity to be in the same gallery as them is quite an honor," she said.

Most importantly, Zhang said, this trip will help her better understand her students' point of view when it comes to art. She said that finding your identity is the first step to finding your style of art.

"I encourage all of my students to find themselves through their art. As an established artist, my artwork represents the outcome of soul-searching of being a woman, mother and a professor in a changing world," she said.

Zhang plans to give a presentation about her trip and experiences for students and faculty members after she returns from Beijing. To see Zhang's complete gallery or learn more about the show, visit her website at


Sara Kuhl

Jeff Angileri