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Hot Springs artist Longhua Xu's 'love letters to his adopted state' on display

The following is from an Arkansas Heritage News Release.

Xu in his studio — Photo by Jeremy Rodgers

Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock announces the opening of a new exhibit “Longhua Xu: The Soul of Arkansas” on display in the Cabe Gallery May 13 through Oct. 16. Xu is an internationally recognized artist living and working in Hot Springs.

This series of paintings emerged from photographs of treasured family outings with Xu’s late wife, their children and grandchildren. His paintings of farmers markets, swap meets and other social events are love letters to his adopted state. Xu uses his role as a curious and compassionate observer to capture what many locals cannot see — the soul of Arkansas expressed through its people. “I have lived in Arkansas for 32 years, traveling to small towns, gardens, farmers markets and the countryside," Xu said. "These people are the backbone of America. They are not like people in magazines who have been modified to look the same. These paintings show the beauty of difference — the true image of Arkansas people.”

Xu immigrated to Hot Springs from China in 1989 with his family. Over the next three decades, Xu won prestigious art commissions and is an important member of the Arkansas art community. In 2019 he was the Arkansas Living Treasure winner. “Longhua Xu is truly an Arkansas treasure. He is known for his grand public art installations that welcome visitors to some of our state’s top tourist attractions in Hot Springs, but he is also an accomplished painter,” Stacy Hurst, secretary of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism said. “Xu’s exhibit at Historic Arkansas Museum will allow visitors to see beauty through his unique lens.” “We are thrilled to showcase these beautiful paintings of everyday Arkansans,” director of Historic Arkansas Museum Stephanie Haught Wade said. “He shows us that there’s beauty in everyone, and that you can find inspiration in the world around you.” An opening reception for “Longhua Xu: The Soul of Arkansas” will be held at 5 p.m. June 10.

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