Press Releases

Mills College Art Professor Hung Liu Selected for Lifetime Achievement Award

Oakland, CA–March 11, 2011 Mills College Art Professor Hung Liu has been selected to receive the prestigious SGC International 2011 Award for Lifetime Achievement in Printmaking. Liu will be recognized for her outstanding contributions to the professional development of printmaking as a fine art, during the 2011 SGC International Conference on March 19, 2011 in St. Louis.

Liu, who has taught at Mills since 1990, is widely regarded for her body of work which includes highly evocative paintings, murals, drawings, mixed media, and printmaking. In receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from SGC International, Liu joins other art world luminaries who have received the award, such as Chuck Close (2004), William Wiley (2005), Xu Bing (2007), and Judy Pfaff (2010).

"Mills' students have benefited from Professor Liu's internationally renowned reputation and talent for over twenty years," said Mills College Provost Sandra C. Greer. "The opportunity to observe her highly original approach to painting and printmaking, first hand, has greatly enhanced the academic experience for so many of our Studio Art students."

Born and raised in China, Liu's work incorporates both modern and historical elemental themes from her Chinese heritage. Liu, who grew up during the time of Mao Tse-tung, worked as a laborer for several years during the Cultural Revolution before turning to art. Much of her work focuses on Chinese social, cultural, and political history with portraits depicting subjects ranging from the Last Emperor to working peasants, women warriors, and war refugees, as well as scenes from the Cultural Revolution. Using both historical and her own photographs as a base, Liu employs an inventive variety of painting, mixed media, and printing techniques designed to communicate her themes of humanity, nature, and the passage of time. Liu's work is recognizable for her signature washes, drips, and large-size canvases which often feature traditional Chinese motif embellishments of flowers, birds, and animals. Recent experiments in printmaking involve the layering of resin and oil-based pigments, resulting in a glass-like finish which allows for a more vibrant surface.

Liu's work also serves to bridge cultures here in the Bay Area. Her 2007 public art installation project—"Going Away, Coming Home"—installed at the Oakland International Airport, was honored as one of several "innovative and exciting examples of American public art" by Americans for the Arts. In that work, she incorporated images of the red-crowned crane—a symbol of peace and prosperity—layered over satellite images ranging from the Bay Area to the Asia Pacific region.

In 1972, Liu entered the Revolutionary Entertainment Department of Beijing's Teachers College to study art and education. After graduating in 1975, she began teaching art at the elite Jingshan School in Beijing, and was also the art instructor on a children's program, "How to Draw and Paint," which aired on television for several years throughout China. In 1979, she attended the Central Academy of Fine Arts where she majored in mural painting, and in 1980, she applied to the visual arts program at the University of California, San Diego. After being accepted, Liu waited for four years to obtain a passport from the Chinese government. She arrived in California in 1984.

Liu is the recipient of numerous awards, honors, and grants, and she is a two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Painting Fellowship. She has exhibited her work widely in the U.S., Asia, and Europe, and her work is part of numerous private and public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

SGC International (SGCI), formerly the Southern Graphics Council, is a U.S. nonprofit membership organization that advances the field of original prints, drawings, books, and handmade paper. SGCI strives to increase public awareness of these arts through an annual conference that draws on average 1,500 participants from across the U.S. and internationally. SGCI supports critical dialogue about issues in art and ideas as well as exchanges of technical information. Awards, publications, and exhibitions sponsored by SGCI promote greater understanding and scholarship.

About Mills College
Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California, Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering a dynamic progressive education that fosters leadership, social responsibility, and creativity to over 950 undergraduate women and more than 600 graduate women and men. The College ranks as one of the Best 373 Colleges in the country and one of the greenest colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review. U.S. News & World Report ranked Mills one of the top-tier regional universities in the country and second among colleges and universities in the West in its “Great Schools, Great Prices” category. For more information, visit

Pam Gould
Media Relations Manager

Last Updated: 8/30/11