Ginger Jingzhe Li

G i n g e r   J i n g z h e   L i

Rebirth No 2

In the past two years, I have found renewed inspiration in the lotus as a subject in my painting. Iconographically, it is a potent symbol of rebirth due to its blooming pattern — submergence at nightfall in dark, muddy waters and re-emergence with the sun in pristine beauty. To the naked eye, the pond is dying but, just below surface, seeds from the decaying lotus flower drift through the water fertilising new life at the bottom of the pond where the cycle begins again in a daily process of resurrection. 

In my series, Rebirth, I am exploring the lotus motif within a Chinese cultural context. On a personal level, the lotus possesses an intrinsic value dear to my heart being the iconic flower of my native city of Jinan, China. I grew up alongside Daming Lake where lotuses abound in bodies of water. Lotus flowers, lotus leaves, lotus seeds and lotus roots are not merely beautiful flora but also a delicious food throughout my childhood. Moreover, as the flower sacred to Buddhism, it has an emotional and spiritual resonance for me, my mother being a Buddhist.

Ginger Jingzhe Li obtained a Master of Art Administration degree in 2003 from the College of Fine Arts (COFA), University of New South Wales, having previously been awarded, in 2001, the Dean’s Scholarship, College of Fine Arts (COFA), University of New South Wales, and the Sherman Gallery Scholarship in 2002.

Li has worked in the arts industry for many years as an artist, writer, curator and publisher, her articles on Chinese and Australian art having appeared in Chinese language journals and media. Amultimedia artist adept at not only painting but also paper cutting, etching, sculpture and ceramics, she has devoted herself, in recent years, to her own art practice. The botanical subjects of her paintings are within the second of the three categories of traditional Chinese painting — landscapes, birds-and-flowers and figures – which are executed in a Western figurative style of still life with astute attention to colour and tonal values.

Among the numerous exhibitions she has curated both in China and Australia are A Visual Story about China – Wendy Sharpe and Bernard Ollis, shown in Shanghai and Linyi, China (2016); Nature & Life: Images From Our Souls, Wolli Creek, Bayside Art Festival (2018); Apart in Space, Together by Art, Kogarah Art Space (2020); Jacaranda Blooming (2020, 2021, 2022, 2023); Poetic Nature: A Joint Exhibition By Chinese and Australian Artists, China Cultural Centre, Sydney (2021, 2023); The World Feels Warm, group exhibition with Tracey Moffatt, Tim Johnsonand others (2022); Interface & Transition, with David van Nunen, Bernard Oills and Wendy Sharpe (2022); Group Exhibition of Outstanding Chinese Australian Artists: All Fresh (2023 and 2024).

In her capacity as a publisher, Li has been responsible for such noteworthy monographs as Australian Contemporary Painting; The Willow Pattern Story; Nursery Rhymes & Paintings for Bilingual Mums and Kids; Australia My Love – From Prisoner Of War To Order Of Australia and Caps and Veils: The Nursing History of Sydney Hospital Matrons and its Nurses 1788-1985.  

Her work is held in private and public collections in Australia and China, including the National Art Museum of China, Beijing.

Ginger Jingzhe Li was elected a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute in 2023.

Copyright © Australian Watercolour Institute