I grew up amongst the sunflower fields in northern China. In my childhood years, I played under the bright, yellow sunflowers with my brothers everyday. China’s Cultural Revolution played an important part in my life.
During that time, sunflowers were used as political allegories to depict how citizens of China should follow Mao who represented the sun, since sunflowers follow the sun’s movements. People eventually inferred the deception that this symbol masked. After graduating from high school, I was sent to a labor camp in the country for ‘reeducation’ during China’s Cultural Revolution. There, I was subject to grueling farm work. Often, I worked in corn and sunflower fields from sunrise to sunset. Thus, for me, sunflowers evoke both personal joy and sadness. Therefore, to deliver my complex feelings, I use sunflowers as a metaphor to connote my background and emotional stage.Victor Wang is currently a professor of fine arts at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri.