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Li Huang is a celebrated portrait painter at DJCAD. He was awarded third prize in the November 2019 Scottish Portrait Awards.

What did you do before starting your research degree at Dundee?

I had both of my BA degree of Fine Art and MFA of Fine Art at DJCAD. I started PhD study immediately after my MFA.

What is the focus of your current research?

My research is about the spiritual dimensions in portraiture painting. The theme is related to the reminiscence of my father who has been in the other world for a long time. I try to explore something about the relation between the natural and the supernatural. The imprint from the traditional culture exists in people's life and it flows continuously through generation to generation. My practice-based research pays particular attention to the attitude to death from the perspective of traditional Chinese philosophy, religions and folk customs, and always from the western culture perspective in the meantime.

What first got you interested in your research topic?

The research topic is a subsequent theme during my MFA study. What I am most interested in is the influence of the western culture and the Chinese culture in my painting practice.

What has been the most positive aspect of your research degree so far?

Progress in painting technique. I always take the painting process as a dialogue with the figure in my works, sometimes it could be myself, sometimes it could be an image of my father from my memory, or sometimes it could simply be an object. That makes me easily immerse myself into the process of painting. The more concentrated in painting, the greater satisfaction.

What has been the most challenging aspect so far?

Impact of the dual cultures. Sometimes it is hard to handle the balance between seen and unseen in the painting. It is also difficult to make a painting as a story rather than an instant moment.