Modern China Studies
2016 marks the 50th anniversary of China's Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). When the revolution started in 1996, I was 9. The ten years of the Cultural Revolution was the most important period for my education. I love painting and drawing. So during the ten years of the Cultural Revolution, I devoted all my time to study art except for the time I was forced to study communist ideology and to do hard labor. According to the communist theory, art is politicalized and is a tool to serve the communist revolutionary goal. During the Cultural Revolution, the politicalization of art reached its peak. I ardently used art to paint propaganda pictures to denounce capitalism. In this article, I will use my own experience to illustrate how art is politicalized during the Cultural Revolution, explain the revolutionary theory of art developed by Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party during the Revolution, and briefly discuss how art and politics intertwine in today's China.
Original Publication Citation
Li, S. (2016). Art and politics: The cultural revolution in the eyes of an art soldier. Modern China Studies, 23(2), 199-219.
Li, Shaomin, "Art and Politics: The Cultural Revolution in the Eyes of an Art Soldier" (2016). Management Faculty Publications. 26.