Historic Arkansas Museum announces the opening of a new exhibit “Longhua Xu: The Soul of Arkansas” on display in the Cabe Gallery beginning in May 2022. Xu is an internationally recognized artist living and working in Arkansas and the 2019 Arkansas Living Treasure winner.
Although the paintings are on display, an official opening reception with Xu will be held during 2nd Friday Art Night June 10 at 5 p.m.
“Longhua Xu is truly an Arkansas treasure. He is known for his grand public art installations that welcome visitors to some of our state’s top tourist attractions in Hot Springs, but he is also an accomplished painter,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “Xu’s exhibit at Historic Arkansas Museum will allow visitors to see beauty through his unique lens.”
Xu immigrated to Hot Springs from China in 1989 with his family. Over the next three decades, Xu won prestigious art commissions and is an important member of the Arkansas art community. In 2019, he was named an Arkansas Living Treasure.
“At Arkansas Heritage we look for ways for our eight agencies to work collaboratively,” said Jimmy Bryant, director of Arkansas Heritage. “Having an Arkansas Arts Council Arkansas Living Treasure artist able to display at Historic Arkansas Museum is a great example of this cooperative approach.”
“We are thrilled to showcase these beautiful paintings of everyday Arkansans,” said Stephanie Haught Wade, director of Historic Arkansas Museum. “He shows us that there’s beauty in everyone, and that you can find inspiration in the world around you.”
This series of paintings emerged from photographs of treasured family outings with Xu’s late wife, their children and grandchildren. His paintings of farmers markets, swap meets and other social events are love letters to his adopted state. Xu uses his role as a curious and compassionate observer to capture what many locals cannot see — the soul of Arkansas expressed through its people.
Xu said, “I have lived in Arkansas for 32 years, traveling to small towns, gardens, farmers markets and the countryside. These people are the backbone of America. They are not like people in magazines who have been modified to look the same. These paintings show the beauty of difference — the true image of Arkansas people.”
“Longhua Xu: The Soul of Arkansas” will be on display in the Cabe Gallery May 13 through October 16.