From Purgatory to Paradise: An Oral History of Artist Han Meilin from the Cultural Revolution to the Present Day
They wanted him to suffer, but in the end, suffering shaped his life.
Han Meilin is a titan of contemporary Chinese art, from Olympic mascots to the tails of planes, his works have drawn worldwide recognition. But behind the fame, he was forged in the crucible of China’s Cultural Revolution.
In an uncertain political landscape where suspicion itself was as good as proof, the very thing that gave him purpose – his passion for art – doomed him to an indefinite purgatory behind bars in No. 100 Dongshan detention centre. Branded a traitor to the revolution, he faced a decade of despair, but at its cruel depths, he discovered the values which would shape him as an artist.
Now in conversation with the premier storyteller on China’s turbulent 1960s, Meilin recounts his turbulent path to paradise. Filled with first-hand accounts of his complex relationship with the suffering he endured, and the many ways it continues to reverberate in the hyper-commercial today of the Middle Kingdom.