He Xiangning (1878-1972), born in Hong Kong, was one of the great female activists and artists in modern Chinese history. She often called herself the "Cotton Villager" after her family's ancestral village in Guangdong Province.
In 1903, she traveled with her husband Liao Zhongkai to study in Japan. She joined the Tongmenghui (Chinese United League) in 1905, and followed Sun Yat-sen into the efforts for the Xinhai Revolution and the fight against warlords. She then dedicated herself to the Chinese democratic revolution. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, she held a variety of official posts, including member of the Central People's Government Committee, director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Committee, chairperson of the Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang, honorary chairperson of All-China Women's Federation, vice chairperson of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, vice chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, chairperson of the Chinese Artists Association, etc.
Her art career as well as her revolutionary career began in Japan. In 1909, she entered the Women Art School of Arts in Japan to study painting. She studied from Hashidate Shisen, specializing in landscape and flowers. She also learned animal paintings such as lions and tigers under the Japanese imperial painter Tanaka Raishō.
He Xiangning's artistic creations were inextricably linked to her highly eventful life. Through her many artistic activities and creative practices over the years, she formed her own unique style. She developed a magnificent painting style with profound ideas, often expressing her emotions and aspirations in depictions of pines, plum blossoms, lions, tigers and mountains, forming a striking portrait of her seventy-year revolutionary career. Mao Zedong's words of praise for her are quite fitting: "The works of this distinguished painter are full of the will to struggle." Inscriptions by many Chinese artists and national leaders add weight and significance to many of her works. Her paintings are a treasure of the Chinese people.
He Xiangning's fine works of art are the most precious collections of He Xiangning Art Museum. Around these precious collections, for 25 years, we have always taken it our duty to study, sort out and display these excellent works of art, or plan academic special exhibitions, or hold a series of exhibitions along the footprints of her, or hold academic discussions around her as well as her era. In the past 25 years, thanks to the joint efforts of all participants, He Xiangning Art Museum has become the core institution of He Xiangning research at home and abroad. This time, we specially selected He Xiangning's fine art and historical documents and presented the academic achievements of He Xiangning in the past 25 years, to form an overall review of research, sorting and promotion, as well as in memory of her in this way.