Artwork%20copyright%20Gu%20Xiong.%20Photo%20courtesy%20of%20the%20University%20of%20Washignton%2C%20by%20Anne%20Mathern.
Artwork copyright Gu Xiong. Photo courtesy of the University of Washignton, by Anne Mathern.
Artwork%20copyright%20Gu%20Xiong.%20Photo%20courtesy%20of%20the%20artist. Artwork%20copyright%20Gu%20Xiong.%20Photo%20courtesy%20of%20the%20artist. Artwork%20copyright%20Gu%20Xiong.%20Photo%20courtesy%20of%20the%20artist. Artwork%20copyright%20Gu%20Xiong.%20Photo%20courtesy%20of%20the%20artist. Artwork%20copyright%20Gu%20Xiong.%20Photo%20courtesy%20of%20the%20University%20of%20Washington.

Documents

Smile, 2005

Gu Xiong
(Canadian | Chinese, born 1953)

Location: University of Washington, Seattle

ABOUT THE ARTWORK

Artist Gu Xiong shows us a man, a woman, and a young girl smiling at the viewer. This is a response that the artist, as an immigrant and speaker of English as a second language, uses to cope with cultural barriers. The text on the artwork says, in English and in Chinese: "I smile when I don't understand the words that people say to me. It is like a baby's innocent face. I smile when people yell at me. I don't understand why they do it to me. My smile is like a baby's cry. I smile when I serve people. My smile is the only way for me to communicate with others. I give warmth to people and I hope they will return it. I smile when people help me. I slowly understand how important it is to take my first step and then walk independently. I smile when I am tired. I see what I have earned from the hard work that I have done all the time. I smile when I finally can listen and speak. The more I smile the more people treat me like a real person in this society. I smile no matter how hard a life I have. I smile to the past, smile to the present, smile to the future, and I smile to all."

This artwork was acquired for the State Art Collection in partnership with University of Washington.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, multi-media artist Gu Xiong creates artworks that explore questions of cultural identity. He is an associate professor of fine arts at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

ARTWORK DETAILS

Material Category

Painting - paint on fabric

Medium

Oil and charcoal on canvas

Dimensions

49 in x 15 3/4 ft

ID Number

WSAC2005.023.00A-E

Artist Location

British Columbia, Canada

LOCATION INFORMATION

Agency

University of Washington

Artwork Location

University of Washington
Kane Hall, First Floor Lobby

WA County

King

Setting

Interior

Site Type

University

Address

15 Ave. NE, between NE Pacific and NE 45th streets
Seattle, WA 98195

Geo. Coordinates

47.6565649154538 | -122.30942046627047

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Map

To report an error or provide additional information, please contact us at collections@arts.wa.gov.