b.1956, Shenyang, Liaoning
If Li Linying’s Opulent Banquet took ten years to make (1998-2008), that was because it started as a diversion—something she did to unwind from her abstract painting. Picking up some red and green wool left over from making a sweater, she knitted it into a strawberry, and liked the result so much she immediately made another. A decade later, Li Linying had an apartment full of strawberries, 1500 in all—stuffed into pillowcases, boxes, cases and old shopping bags. Their creation was both a daily ritual and a form of meditation, she recalls: “While knitting them, I thought about many things: love, creation, life and death.” The artist has one son, but the strawberries too became “like my children”. When they were shipped to Australia she waited anxiously for news, then held a banquet to celebrate their arrival.