Although the average person might immediately think of towering Himalayan mountains when thinking of Tibet, the nation is also the birthplace of Buddhism — making it culturally invaluable and ripe for a skillful brush.
Buddhists from all over the globe travel to Tibet each year as part of pilgrimage to the various culturally significant monasteries scattered throughout its rocky lands. In addition to the pilgrims, native Tibetans have preserved an ancient culture often revealed through spectacular dress, spiritual ceremonies, and performance that — unfortunately — continues to display the modern world’s effect year by year.

Huihan Liu, “Curiosity,” oil on canvas, 12 x 9 in. (c) Trailside Galleries 2016

In 1987, artist Huihan Liu, a native of southern China, made the first of a number of visits to the rooftop of the world and was instantly taken by the culture and hospitality of the local residents. After 29 years, “I can’t tell whether I go back in order to paint, or I paint in order to go back,” Liu admits. Whichever it may be, the artistic products are undeniably beautiful and will — for years to come — help preserve the historical culture of this small nation.

Huihan Liu, “Tibetan Saddle,” oil on canvas, 12 x 16 in. (c) Trailside Galleries 2016

Ten outstanding works produced from Liu’s travels to Tibet are the subjects of a solo exhibition this month at Trailside Galleries in Jackson, Wyoming. “Huihan Liu: Journeys to Tibet” highlights not just the rich traditions and dress of native Tibetans, but additionally Liu’s masterful ability to harness this spirit in his works. Using feathery and expressive brushwork, the paintings have a timeless appeal and dream-like aura that lends itself to tradition. Mostly figurative in subject, a diverse range of dress, color, age, and narrative are explored in the various paintings.

Huihan Liu, “Pilgrims Making Wishes, Lhasa,” oil on linen, 30 x 24 in. (c) Trailside Galleries 2016

“Huihan Liu: Journeys to Tibet” opened on August 1 and will be on view through August 31 at Trailside Galleries in Jackson, Wyoming. To learn more, visit Trailside Galleries.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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