Painter breaks through society's wall

THE child is staring lifelessly at the world, a doll dangling from her hands; a black cat, some detached limbs and a doll floating upside down surround her.

This is Game, a painting by Li Yau-mang, one of the first two Master of Fine Arts graduates from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

'Modern society is, to me, afflicted and queer,' he said.

'People are going after something all the time - they are rushing and chasing throughout their lives.

'I want my paintings to reflect the reality, the life of modern people and the social problems,' said Li.

The artist is holding an exhibition at the university's Hui's Gallery, which ends today.

With the theme 'society', Li is displaying about 15 art works he completed during his two years at the university.

'People's lives in the 20th century are full of despair and anxiety.

'Everyone is carrying a big burden and there seems to be an unbreakable wall between human beings.

'The relationships between people are so distant and deserted that they no longer trust each other,' said the oil painter, who graduated from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 1991, before joining the Chinese University.

The artist, whose work is influenced by the ideas of post-modernism but who classifies his style as 'new history', said that he hoped to make use of his art to unveil and reflect the life of people in society.

'I understand I cannot make the world a better place just through my own effort, but I just want to remind people of such problems and stimulate them to contemplate,' said the Fujian-born artist.