Chinese, b. 1961
Wu Ching-ju is an internationally acclaimed sculptor whose inspiration comes from her Chinese childhood in the mountains, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Born in 1961 in Fonglin in rural Taiwan, she used to go with her father into the forests, where she could formulate dreams and create delicate things out of grass, wood and stone. Another important influence was her maternal grandmother, who loved to embroider silk scarves with traditional Chinese motifs of birds, fish, grass and flowers.
After 16 years of village life that taught her love and respect for her ancestors and for all living things, Wu moved with her family to the city and studied design and architecture. There she met her future husband who took her to Europe, where she began to express herself through painting and sculpture.
Living in the West, Wu started to appreciate how wonderful China's traditional philosophy was. In America in the early 1980s she met an aged Chinese artist who taught her how to appreciate the differences between Chinese and Western aesthetics. With his encouragement she decided to make a new kind of Chinese beauty - one that could be touched. 'So I used the simplest lines from Chinese painting in my sculpture, allowing these lines to manifest in the dancing figures of women', she explains.
Wu discovered that motherhood is the most beautiful thing about a woman's life and celebrated this in her 'Mother and Child' series of bronzes, focusing also on what it is like to be an orphan. Herself far from home, she felt impelled to take back to her own people and culture what she had learned, to create a bridge of communication between East and West. Among the works that cross cultures in this way is "Anne Lin, a Fairy Tale", interpreting the story of Cinderella, which was part of a program to support the care of Chinese orphans. Another is her Fountain of Blessings (2008), a Levant Art project commissioned for Xintiandi in Shanghai and representing the traditional Chinese values of blessedness, prosperity and longevity while illustrating the progress of Chinese society.
Recently, Wu completed "Terra Natura" a bronze sculpture group of momumental size for the city of Shanghai.
The theme of the work is a call to be aware of the state of the earth and nature. The location of the sculpture - Lujiazui Central Park- is considered the most prominent location of the city.
Wu has held over 40 exhibitions in Europe and Asia and there are several significant collections of her work across the world in the United Kingdom, the USA, continental Europe, the Middle East and China. Eight monumental and life-size works of hers are on permanent display in museums in China.
Wu Ching-ju is now working on major 2012 exhibitions which will show in London and in China.