Li’s Art Exhibit at Worcester Art Museum’s Spring Celebration (2024)

As part of Worcester Art Museum’s Spring Celebration on Sunday May 5, 2024, Xiang Li was invited to exhibit her large scale original silk paintings at the museum. She was amongst many other other artists, musicians and performers invited to showcase their work as part of the festival.

Worcester Art Museum Spring Celebration 2024 - Showcasing Xiang Li Art

Li exhibited 9 of her original works – a combination of Chinese Empress paintings, portraits and a painting of Madonna and Baby Jesus.

Worcester Art Museum Exhibit

The exhibition was set up in the education wing of the museum with long hallways, ample wall space and natural light. It was a perfect venue for Xiang Li’s large paintings on silk some of which also tend to be very long panels (like the one below).

The combination of studio and natural light in the space worked very well for the paintings, bringing out the true shades and radiance of the handmade precious stone watercolors used by Li. I realized that these colors looked different and more brilliant in these originals than in their digital versions. For all of you who follow Li’s work regularly, I would highly recommend seeing her original paintings in person at one of her upcoming events (see list of events here).

I would be remiss if I did not talk about the most appreciated painting at the event – the Madonna and baby Jesus painting. It was the showstopper of the event proving to be the one that vowed visitors of all age groups. This painting is also my personal favorite from amongst Xiang Li’s art works that I have seen thus far for many different reasons. The most compelling reason one usually falls in love with a painting is an emotional one. This painting stirs feelings of joy, love and wonder in me.

Furthermore, below is a list of other reasons that makes this painting special to me.

  • This is the first time that I have seen this famous classical subject painted in Chinese watercolor technique. All past and present versions of this subject’s paintings that I have seen in my life (in books, media and museums) have been oil or acrylic paintings with western rendering techniques.
  • This is also the first time I have seen Madonna’s robes in beautiful and refreshing shades of brilliant pink and blue
  • The painting embodies diversity in the many different skin tones and ethnicities depicted in the baby angels surrounding the divine figures. This feature was also noticed by many of the viewers and they took the time to discuss and appreciate this observation with Li and her daughter Fei.

Here’s a digital gallery of what was showcased at the Worcester Art Museum during their Spring Festival. You can click on each image to enlarge them and see the details. Most of these photos were taken a few days before the celebration during installation. Hence a little sneak peak into our behind the scenes process!

The museum was abuzz with talent showcasing their artistic work from different age groups. There were teenagers showcasing their thought provoking artworks, there was the living statue and the roving fairy silently making all the activities more fun, there were throngs of kids enjoying face painting, there was live performance by the Jazz quartet from College of the Holy Cross, and much more.

All in all, it was a day beautifully spent appreciating and reflecting on art, culture and sounds from around the world and the museum’s event organizers did a beautiful job of bringing it all together under one roof.

Your reflections

As a reader, it would be a wonderful activity for you to reflect on your thoughts after reading this article and looking at Li’s painting (although it’s only digitally!). There are many variations of this painting shown at museums around the world. Perhaps you can take photos of ones you’ve seen, and let us know your learnings looking at those origins compared to this silk portrait created by Li using Chinese techniques.

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