About the Artist
Manyu Gao is an undergraduate student of California State University of Long Beach, and she is an international student from China. She has been studying in the U.S. for almost 2 years, and this semester is her last semester of Bachelor’s degree on Public Management. Now Manyu is pre-taking Master courses, which belong to Master of Fine Arts, especially for her interests but not for pursuing any degrees. Obviously Manyu’s main interest is drawing and painting, and her work always explore the things in real life, such as different people, human bodies, foods, etc.
The work that I was interested in from Manyu Gao was an oil painting, but Manyu has not named it yet, and she was thinking to give it a name of “Loneliness”. The media of this work is oil. The painting showed a black hair, Asian girl holding a drink, sitting by a table which full-filled with three burgers, two bags of fries, and a drink. And the girl seemed to be upset and waiting for some one to come to share the food with her. The painting is in a warm-color tone, and the story can be told happened after sunset by the road lights, in-door yellow lights, and the shadows of the chair’s and the girl’s. The paining is also very good in details and smoothy lines, I can even smell the burgers and fries by looking at the vivid foods. It is painted realistically that the girl’s cloth make people feel like in real world.
This oil painting was painted for more than one month, and it was an art project from Manyu’s course. As her professor let them to paint whatever in their minds, Manyu went to coffee shop to think and design her work. And she decided to use this work to express her feelings in deep mind. Manyu Gao is an international student in the U.S., and her parents and other relatives are all in home country, so she is studying alone without family here. This oil painting expresses Manyu’s loneliness that how she felt when she first time came to an unfamiliar country, facing new cultures and feeling different culture shots. Manyu cannot get used to eat fast food like burgers and fries with soda here, and she is still missing Chinese food in her hometown. And it is also hard for her to blend into American cultures, so she is always doing things alone. So in the painting, the girl actually ordered more food than what she can eat and pretended to be waiting for someone, but there is no one coming. It shows how Manyu desires to join into American cultures, make more friends, and kill loneliness.
I have feelings resonate with Manyu’s work because I’m also an international student from China, and I have been studying here for 6 years. At the beginning of arriving to the U.S., I could not even speak English fluently, so it was challenged for me to communicate with classmates and professors, and hard to make friends too. Family is always my backup force to support me to live and study happily here, so I needed to make phone calls with my mom every day so that I felt less lonely. I know how it feels when eating alone at restaurants, shopping alone the whole weekends, browsing alone at beaches, so I understand Manyu’s feelings pretty well, we both desired to make more close friends, and have someones that care about us and let us to care about them. I have only one chance to go back to visit my home country each year, so I also miss my family like Manyu does. I like Manyu’s this oil painting, it tells a lot about our stories which are how foreigners’ lives are in the U.S.