How to be a Chinese citizen with Xinmei Liu.

Xinmei Liu Model citizen guidelines
Credit: Xinmei Liu

“I have a rabbit named Kitty Cat.”

Today we join Xinmei Liu as she explains her series ‘Model Citizen Guidelines’. A humorous look at the lessons taught to Chinese citizens as children.

Who is Xinmei Liu?

“I was born and raised in Shanghai, China, and came to the United States in the senior year of high school and later got my BFA in Communications Design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. I went back to work in Shanghai for 2 years before starting grad school at School of Visual Arts in New York, where I got my MFA in Illustration in May 2020. I make illustrations, prints and books. I currently live in Queens, NY and work as a freelance illustrator. My work is mostly focused on my cultural background, social issues, childhood experience and history. I always have comedy/variety shows on as background when I work. I have a rabbit named Kitty Cat.”

What is the series ‘Model Citizen Guidelines’ about?

Xinmei tells us that the initial inspiration for the series came from reflecting on personal experiences when she then realized that very little was taught to distinguish opinions from facts.

“I created an illustrated “schoolbook” with lessons I was taught in childhood that I later found problematic.”

Her later experiences including college years, distress with extreme divisions worldwide, and failed attempts to explain liberal ideas to her parents all pushed her call for a renaissance of critical thinking.

“As I laid out ideas and sketches, I found it more effective to approach the project from a universal rather than personal point of view. I tried to question and evoke thoughts about conventional ideas on what constitutes ‘good behavior’ and ‘good values’ in a society. These principles covered most aspects of my childhood and teenage life, including career choice, sex education and work ethic. In this series, I aimed to lay them out plainly, with humor and satire, and let the obvious fallacies expose themselves. Many of these illustrations were inspired by propaganda posters in 80s and 90s China, where slogans and positive imagery were used to send black-and-white messages.”

And thus, the series ‘Model Citizen Guidelines’ was born.

We’ll keep this page updated with any new editions to the series as and when they’re completed. So dont be strangers!

Instagram: @cat_mover

Artist Portfolio: catmoverart.net

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Jonny Gleason

Photographer, Magazine owner, Matcha drinker. One of these is definitely the most important, just unsure which...

Instagram: @jonny.gleason

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