Chinese/Dutch artist Ma Hui was born in Chengde, Hebei Province in 1958, to the family of a high-ranking Party official. Her extensive range of artworks embodies her two very different cultural identities in a number of ways.
Her feelings about shuimo, Chinese ink and water on paper, stem from her days of early childhood on the banks of the Yellow River in Ningxia, during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The Ma family was broken up after her father and mother were detained and the children sent to the countryside for re-education.
Ma Hui studied at the Art College of the University of Xi’an, after which she spent time in Tibet to paint the cultural life of ethnic minorities. In 1987, she moved to Europe to further her art studies in Switzerland and Holland.
While in Ningxia, the symbiosis of yellow earth and streaming water evoked lasting emotions, literally colouring her artistic career that spans four decades on two continents. Both cultures resonate in her shuimo, an ancient Chinese configurative art form that Ma Hui has masterfully transformed into immense abstract eruptions of ink and water on paper.
In 2006, she was awarded the prestigious Aemstelle Prize by the Cobra Museum in The Netherlands, for an installation of ink on canvas artworks, entitled ‘Yellow River’.