Hao Zhang

Artist Statement

As a native of Beijing, China, with an ancestral connection to the Palace, I am deeply influenced by Chinese culture. When I was a kindergarten student, teachers told us that every child should do things right, we should follow what the teachers said and that we were responsible for the “GROUP”. That thought gradually become the spirit in my mind. I should be a part of the group, and we all have to be in unity.

When I was in primary school, the first thing the teacher taught us was not how to write, but she taught us how to sit and act. This sounds surprising for me right now, but to be honest, every student in the class did the same thing. We kept this strict rule for three years. The goal of the teachers was not only to learn how to sit, but also to have the understanding that we should be in unity.

The word “Unity” appears so frequently in my life; it was used from kindergarten to middle school. When school ended, we exited the classroom in lines, one line for boys and one line for girls. When we did morning exercise in the big playground, every class stood by each other; we were not free to move. When we had activities or celebrations in the school, everyone was required to join the activity.

I deeply understand the importance of consistency and routine in an educational setting. I illustrate the idea of “unity” in my ceramic sculpture. I create ceramic work because it provides many choices and opportunities. I use clay to build various kinds of natural forms and plant life. It allows me to focus on details, while exploring the beauty of freedom and untamed nature. The glazes that I use can be unpredictable, even though I use the same glaze every time, they can produce different effects. This interesting fact makes me excited every time when my work is fired. Moreover, the stunning glazes encourages me to keep making more creative pieces. I challenge the idea of “Unity” in my work by immersing the viewer and myself in pattern, texture, and color.