Friday, February 18, 2011

Mu Yuming Artist's family thought he'd be a bus driver

26/05/2010 10:40:00 a.m.
WHEN Mu Yuming was 15 years-old he rode up the Himalayan mountainside near his home with the intention of killing himself.
Now he travels the world and creates art in public places wearing a silver space suit.
In Wellington he has been painting the portraits and videoing the decedents of early Chinese settlers. He has been the resident artist at Wellington’s Bolton Street Cottage for two months and has spent five months travelling the length of the country exploring Chinese identity.
But life wasn’t always this exciting.
Mu is of the ethnic minority Naxi and comes from Lijiang, a village in south-west China where his identity card marks him the one hundredth resident and his parents expected him to be a bus driver.
Contemplating the conservative life his family wanted for him led him to the mountains that day.
“It’s not because my family didn’t understand, they just thought you couldn’t have more than this, so I made the decision that I’d die, and my life was of no interest,” says Mu.
Cycling up a mountain to his final destination the young Mu was engulfed by the beauty of life around him.
“I heard everything in the world – music, water, birds; it was so wonderful for a minute. I asked myself, is there anything I want to do before I die? And yes, I’d like to make paintings.”
However, his family was worried about who would support them financially.
They were placated by Mu’s older sister who vowed to support her brother in times of need.
Now a youthful looking 39 year-old, Mu has made it and incorporates his philosophies into his painting.
“The artist should not be focused on the self for a long time. Once you find yourself then you need to give the experience to other people. It’s like a martial art, you have the sword in your hand but you don’t feel it, it’s like a dance when I paint,” he says.

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