China Strong
acrylic on canvas (120 x 120 cm)

In my paintings, I also have Mao Zedong wear a pair of “China Strong.” Those are canvas shoes that were widely popular among high school boys in Taiwan during the 60s and 70s. A few years ago, the shoes came back into fashion as part of a retrospective wave; later on, it became a Taiwanese icon of sorts. With regards to the name of the shoes, I am sure that a lot of people around my age all thought that “China” meant Taiwan when we were young.

In fact, China Strong was an imitation of Converse All Stars, which has a five-pointed star as its trademark; back in the day, however, the displaying of five-pointed stars was a taboo in Taiwan, given that the Communists of mainland China also had such stars on their flag. In my work, having Mao Zedong wear a pair of China Strong (or Converse All Stars) was a deliberate decision.