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 Belle Xuan Yang  (1960 - )

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Lived/Active: California / Taiwan, Province of China      Known for: expressionist landscape painting

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Belle Xuan Yang
An example of work by Belle Xuan Yang
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Hauk Fine Arts:
Belle Yang was born in 1961 in Taipei, Taiwan, and emigrated to the United States in 1968 with her parents---Joseph Yang, the artist, and her mother, Laning Yang. The family eventually settled in Carmel, California.  Yang attended Stirling University in Scotland and graduated with honors in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, before deciding to be an artist.  She studied at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design.

In the late 1980s she traveled to China and Manchuria, the home of her father's youth, to visit her roots and study with Chinese masters.  She studied at the Academy of Traditional Chinese Painting in Beijing, and in 1989 she acted as a translator for CBS at the Tiennamen Massacre.  Returning to the United States, she took a year off from her art and eventually decided she wanted to write and paint about her Father's escape from China during the invasion of the Japanese and the Chinese Civil War.

The resulting book, of her words and her paintings, was the highly-acclaimed `Baba: A Return to China Upon My Father's Shoulders.  It was published in 1994 by Harcourt-Brace with a forward by Amy Tan.  The book was a critical and commercial success.  A writer for The Washington Post, October 16, 1994, wrote that it was ``the work of an impressive new talent.''  A USA Today reviewer wrote: ``What makes the book particularly outstanding are the paintings and illustrations that accompany each chapter.''  Excerpts from other reviews are: Time Magazine--- ``Baba'' ``mixes (Yang's) gorgeous illustrations with lovingly recounted tales.''  The Los Angeles Times---``rich in humanity. . . . lavishly illustrated.'' San Francisco Chronicle---``Yang's vivid prose is complemented by her brillant watercolors.''

In the following years Yang was given solo shows by three California museums:  The Monterey Museum of Art, the Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz, and the Orange County Museum of Art.

In 1996 Yang's second book was published, `The Odyssey of a Manchurian,' a further examination through paintings and words of her Father's life and China of the time.  Novelist Maxine Hong Kingston said ``In Belle Yang we have our Isaac Bashevis Singer and Marc Chagall.'' Yang's books have been translated into numerous languages; she is included in the anthology ``Becoming American,'' published by Hyperion, has been featured in newspaper articles worldwide, and she is the subject of a recent Voice of American film, that has been telecast in China.

A theater adaptation of ``Baba'' was presented in 2001 at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  Titled `Baba: Flight of the Monkey King,' it was adapted and staged by Kathy Foley. Yang also wrote and illustrated Chili-Chili-Chin-Chin,' which was a Children's Book-of-the-Month Club selection, and is at work on a third book of her Father's story while continuing to explore her art in the medium of gouache.

Her work is held by the Monterey Museum of Art.

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