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Zhou Ling

Chinese artist Zhou Ling is one of the acknowledged leaders of the Yunnan School of Chinese painting. Zhou's talent was recognised when she was in her teens and as a result she was given the opportunity to study Chinese art and history at the Central Institute of Nationalities in 1960. In addition, Zhou Ling took this opportunity to learn Western art and history, despite political problems for those who strayed from the party approved Socialistic Realism.

After her graduation in 1965, Zhou Ling married her teacher, Liu Bingjiang. Only ten days after her marriage, Zhou Ling was sent to the remote area of Kunming where she was forcefully separated from her husband and spent eight years painting posters and illustrations for the Cultural Revolution.

The assignment and marital separation was seen as a punishment for having a teacher-student relationship which was prohibited by the politburo at the time. 

In 1973 Zhou Ling was reunited with her husband and child in Beijing. At this time, she also began to study with the prominent painter and printmaker, Huang Yongyu. He taught her the heavy color techniques that would later become characteristic of the Yunnan School artists. In 1974 she became an art teacher at the Central Institute of Nationalities in Beijing.

The Chinese National Artists Associations selected Zhou Ling and her husband, Liu Bingjiang, to paint a vast mural in the east wing of the Beijing Hotel in 1980. This mural, portraying minority people dancing in their natural costumes to celebrate the life cycles of man and nature, is considered an exceptional work of art.

Zhou has become one of the most sought after female artists in the United States where her paintings are in high demand. Zhou Ling currently lives in Chicago with her husband. 

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