Awards winning painter Zhiwei Tu was born in Northern Guangdong Province, China. As a child he worked his family's land, herded sheep, and attended the village school. It was there that he became infatuated with painting and drawing. When he was in high school, a professional artist was sent to the village to paint a portrait of Mao Zedong.
For seven hours straight, Tu watched the artist work, and afterwards, he bought his own paints and painted his own portrait of Mao. When he showed it to the village officials a few days later, they decided to display his piece as it was far more impressive than the commissioned piece. By 1975 he had earned a BA from the Guangzhou Institute of Fine Arts in Canton, and became a teacher of art at the Teaching College of Shiao Gaun, China. The Cultural Revolution in China forced the closing of all graduate programs until 1978, when the movement lost its energy. During the interruption of his studies, Tu traveled extensively throughout China studying Chinese history and culture, and producing hundreds of paintings. Later, these served as great sources of information and inspiration for much of his work.
Finally, in 1978, Tu entered a compitition for admission to the Gaungzhou Institute, won, and entered to earn his master's degree. Staying there only three years, he moved on the become Professor of Fine Art at the Guangzhou Institute, and while teaching he earned his MFA in 1981. In 1987, Tu entered Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, to study both Art and English full-time. During those three years, he drove all over the midwest and east coast to over twenty invitational shows in Minneapolis, Chicago, and Kansas. Ever since then, Tu has had numerous one-man shows all over the United States and throughout the Orient.
- “Zhiwei Tu Art Museum” opened by Shiaoguan City Government of China in February 2006.
- Best Award in the National Exhibition for the Master Signature Members, the Oil Painters of America, USA, 2002.
- Person of Outstanding Ability of «Light of the Century», China, 2000.
- New Century Outstanding People by Chinese Outstanding-Artist Research Society, China 2000.
- Master Signature, the Oil Painters of America, USA, 1999.
- Best Award of National Show of the Oil Painters of America, USA, 1998.
- Honorary Signature, the Oil Painters of America, USA, 1997.
- Award of the President of the Oil Painters of America, USA 1996.
- Best Award in the Midwest Show of the Oil Painters of America, USA, 1994.
- Second Prize in the National Show of the Oil Painters of America, USA 1993.
- Best Award in Show for the Exhibition Iowa College Salon XII, USA, 1990.
- The Gold Prize at the World Cultural Convention, Algiers, 1987.
- First Prize at Guangdong Artistic Work Show, China, 1980.