I borrowed a line from the speech Mao delivered in 1956 to Chinese students studying abroad in the Soviet Union, "the world is yours, you are the 8am sun in the morning, our hopes rest on all of you." The Chairman's hopes, however, were not aligned with these students'. I made this painting with an air of despondence. Mao was hoping that the youth would evade the snares of Western capitalism. These youths, in turn, young and impressionable, couldn't wait to embrace new concepts
and fresh ideas from the West. This is a historical paradox that brings me great sadness, yet I elected to use a bright red in the picture. I'm not sure if my viewers can discern the troubling subtext. Otherwise, my works will be no different from those of young artists working today.
- Excerpted from "The World is Yours – Interview with Yu Youhan" in Art World, July 2009
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