This joint exhibition is a culmination of students at Zhaoqing University (Zhaoqing, China) and Allen R. Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.) working simultaneously to explore self-portraiture and enhance self-awareness.

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Zhaoqing University

Liang Bao Yi

Chen Hong Qing

Lin Ling Ling

Luo Ju

You Shi Ren

Zeng Xiao Li

Liu Fang

Wu Tong Sheng

Liang Jia Ying

Deng Bei Lei

Qi Yuan Yi

Wang De Shan

Zheng Jie

Wu Xiao Qi

Li Zhao Yan

He Chuan Jian

Chen Jin E

He Jing Ya

Tao Wei Yong

Zhang Gui Mei

Li Ling

Su Yi

Su Jin Dong

Si Xue Qin

He Jin Hao

Guo Lu Hou

Chen Wen Yi

Tang An Min

Lu De Chang

Li Tian

University of Louisville

Julie Allen

Chris Arrowwood

Maryann Lentz

Laura Storms

Christine Leidner

Sarah Todd

Baily Richards

Tristan Clinger

Roea Wallace

Lauren Carter

Heather Collins

Emily Schmidt

Ashley Cummings

Amanda Place

Ashley Strothman

Elisa Graham

Jennie Fyhr

Madalyn Stubblefield

Nathan Cole

Andrew Faust

This project is a collaboration between Freshman [Grade 1] students in China and America under the instruction of Tom R. Chambers at Zhaoqing University (Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province, China) and Chan Ying Kit at Allen R. Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.).

The self-portrait gives the artist the greatest freedom from external constraints. Because the artist is his or her own cheapest and most available model, the self-portrait is the finest opportunity to make the most flattering statement or the most penetrating revelation of character of which he or she is capable. The artist tries not only to express his inner drive through aesthetic presentation, but also to examine that drive through portrayal of the most intimate subject, the self [The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2005, Columbia University Press].

The soul, according to many religious and philosophical traditions, is a self-aware ethereal substance particular to a unique living being. In these traditions the soul is thought to incorporate the inner essence of each living being, and to be the true basis for sentience. In distinction to spirit which may or may not be eternal, souls are usually (but not always as explained below) considered to be immortal and to pre-exist their incarnation in flesh. The concept of the soul has strong links with notions of an afterlife, but opinions may vary wildly, even within a given religion, as to what may happen to the soul after the death of the body. Many within these religions and philosophies see the soul as immaterial, while others consider it to possibly have a material component, and some have even tried to establish the mass (weight) of the soul [Wikipedia].

Review by J.D. Jarvis, Artist and Art Critic, New Mexico, U.S.A.:

"It is my observation that American students suffer when asked to create work within the limits of a theme. I was impressed by the Chinese students who seemed less hampered by the thought of the theme of Self/Soul and found ways to be much more expressive than the American counterparts. I also see within the Chinese work much more exploration with the digital tools and a better overall sense for design and color. I believe Chambers can take credit for the former, but I am fairly sure the sense of design and color comes from a culture that has not yet sidelined the arts in favor of football. My compliments on another successful and interesting collaboration."

Review by Bruce Hanks, Media Artist, Canada:

"Identity, and the image we project - so important/meaningful. Looking at the Self/Soul exhibition, I am struck by how cluttered the images are. At that explosive age of youth, we want to contain and express the entirety of everything simultaneously. Such valiant effort, and a lovely beginning. Again, a fantastic collaboration between students in two different hemispheres. It is noteworthy how this exercise does not present two different worlds. The images could be interchanged and it would be hard to say who is/was from where. Identity in a global youth culture is mediated through recent advancements in (portable) technology. The students work is a public."

Tom R. Chambers
Visiting Lecturer, Digital/New Media Art
Fine Arts Department
Zhaoqing University
Zhaoqing, China

Go to The Exploration of Self by Jeanne Ivy for more information about self-portraiture.