In the context of contemporary art, “Southwestern” means more than a geographical term. Over the last forty years, the active development of Southwestern art has earned itself a significant place in Chinese contemporary art, and played a significant part in bringing Chinese contemporary art onto the international stage. From “Scars Art”, “Native Realism”, through “China New Figurative Painting”, “Life Stream of Southwest”, “New Scar Art”, “Cruel Youth” to “Cartoon Generation”, a series of vibrant artistic movements along the extraordinary journey of Southwestern art brought about a great number of outstanding contemporary artists and their representative works which were later proved to have transformed the historically little known Southwestern regions into one of the most important contemporary art centers in modern China.

This special exhibition includes 75 works of 49 artists who are intricately associated with the Southwestern lands: some of them were born natives, some studied there, some travelled or lived in the Southwest for some time. Following a historical sequence, we will use three major parts to illustrate this amazing Southwestern art story: “Scars-Natives-Life Stream: taking form in transformation”, “Diversity: taking off during opening up”, and “Marketisation: progressing in development”.

On behalf of Long Museum, I hope this exhibition will serve as a clear window for the audience into the historical journey of Southwestern contemporary art. Artists involved in the exhibition are literally connected to “Southwestern” in various ways. Inspired by this unique land, many of them have created art that makes them internationally reputed Chinese artists. Southwestern China, fertile land for Chinese contemporary art, is gaining acknowledgement at home and abroad through brilliant artistic creation from generation to generation of artists.