SIU graduate displays recent political work ‘The Voice’ at University Museum

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SIU graduate displays recent political work ‘The Voice’ at University Museum

Yingxue Zuo standing next to one of his paintings during his exhibit at the SIU University Museum on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019

Yingxue Zuo standing next to one of his paintings during his exhibit at the SIU University Museum on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019

Lucas Leffelman | @LucasLeffelmande

Yingxue Zuo standing next to one of his paintings during his exhibit at the SIU University Museum on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019

Lucas Leffelman | @LucasLeffelmande

Lucas Leffelman | @LucasLeffelmande

Yingxue Zuo standing next to one of his paintings during his exhibit at the SIU University Museum on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019

By Jacob Lorenz, Staff Reporter

The SIU university museum displayed ‘The Voice,’ a collection of murals by Yingxue Zuo, on Saturday Aug. 31. 

Zuo graduated from SIU in 1990 and teaches at St. Louis Community College Forest Park.

More than a dozen people showed up to listen to Zuo’s presentation and admire the four murals that spanned the length of each wall they were on. 

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The first mural Zuo completed is called ‘60s – Cold War.’ It was done in charcoal, and it displays prominent moments of the world in the 1960s. The Kennedys riding in a convertible, Martin Luther King giving a speech and people protesting Chairman Mao were all displayed. 

“I use charcoal to do drawings so I feel more secure,” Zuo said. 

The second mural he completed is called ‘Carnival.’ The mural displays real world problems like pollution and war with cartoonish characters mixed in. 

Zuo said he wants his murals to make people think. He uses this mural as a metaphor for society. 

“I try to bring the issue to the people,” Zuo said. “Nobody can get away from the problem.” 

The third mural is called ‘Leaders – in the name of the people,’ and it displays many actual leaders of the world. Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are displayed throughout, but none of them are bigger than the bronze bull, the same on that on Wall Street in New York City

“I used this symbol indicating, in some way, we’ve been hijacked by the money,” Zuo said. “Money is the power behind driving this world.” 

Zuo said it is the leaders that cause problems when they start to advance their own agenda and not the people’s. 

He also made sure to mention the soldiers displayed in the third mural. 

“I try to indicate that war is definitely hurting everybody, including the soldier, themself,” Zuo said. “They are innocent, they’re becoming the tools by the political force.” 

Lastly, the fourth mural is called ‘Who Are We, Where We Go?’ 

“This one emphasizes what I feel about American society,” Zuo said. 

There are many faces in the mural, from Trump’s cabinet members to Colin Kaepernick. Large displays of American natives in traditional headwear are displayed along with Lady Liberty covered up by a “Make America Great Again” hat. 

Zuo said, in a card next to his mural, America is at a turning point and as an artist he is responsible to voice very serious thoughts to Americans. 

Jessica Mia Vito, a graduate student studying painting, said she was impressed with the murals. 

She said she liked how the noses on faces were like mountains used in en plein air paintings. 

The last mural was finished over a year ago. When asked who he would put into the mural today, Zuo said Justice Brett Kavanaugh. 

“He cried, he yelled, I can’t accept a Supreme Court Judge performing that way,” Zuo said. “I believe that woman, but [regardless], just concentrate on his act, his performance in the congress, I believe he should not be put in there.” 

‘The Voice’ will be on display for the public in the University Museum in Faner Hall until Dec. 14.

Staff reporter Jacob Lorenz can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @jtlorenz6.

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