Huang was the subject of the October 2001 issue
of TheScreamOnline. His work is influenced by the folk art, legends, themes, and customs of
the numerous minority cultures of China.
Ten years ago,
when I was teaching at Guangxi Art College, I often went on drawing field trips to the minority
villages with my students. Besides my home town in the Zhuang autonomous region, I also loved
the Miao/Hmong and Dong Villages. It was not just the scenery, the costumes, the customs, and
embroideries that attracted me, the Spring Festival was irresistible. At the festival, the villagers,
wearing their traditional costumes, would gather together at a common to await the festivities.
Young maidens danced to the beautiful lusheng music played by the
young men. The elders would socialize among themselves, and vendors would show off their crafts
to entice the curious audience. Their rituals, fine wine, love songs, respect of nature, enthusiasm
about life, and unity composed numerous scenes that deeply touched my heart.
Nationalites in China
In China there
are 56 minority nationalities. They are ethnic groups with cultural characteristics that clearly
distinguish one from the other and from the Han, which forms the majority of China's population.
Although some of these minority nationalities have almost been assimilated into the Han culture,
many of them still maintain their uniqueness in dialects, religions, and traditions. The majority
of these ethnic groups live in the mountain regions. Among these minority nationalities, the
largest one is Zhuang, with a population of over 10 million people, and the smallest one is
Lhoba, with a population of roughly a thousand.
The Miao people,
with a population of several millions, live in Guizhou, Guangxi, Yunnan, and 6 other provinces.
The Hmong from northern Thailand are related to the Miao. Often they are addressed as Miao/Hmong
collectively. The Miao/Hmong people can again be classified into different groups depending
on where they live, and they can be identified by their costumes. Singing and dancing are their
popular activities. Young people dance and sing love songs to each other on holidays and during
slack seasons. Besides dancing, horse races and bull fighting are their favorite pastimes. The
Miao Spring Festival and Lusheng Festival are the special occasions for singing.
I went back to
the minority villages last spring and was excited to see that their unique cultural practices
still remain intact while the major cities in China are being modernized. I tried to capture
that spirit with my sketches, camcorder, and camera. I took hundreds of pictures and arranged
them under different themes. The following photos show only a small portion of the life of Miao/Hmong
and Dong people. China is undergoing dramatic modernization. The result of modernization on
the minorities is yet to be seen. I hope that the next time I return, the familiar faces and
traditions will still remain.