Essay on Mao Zedong : A Bright Red

Essay on Mao Zedong : A Bright Red

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The lithograph We Rely on the Helmsman to Sail the Sea; To Undertake Revolution We Rely on the Thoughts of Mao Zedong (1968) illustrates Mao Zedong, the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, standing before what is a rough representation of the country of China. Most of the painting is a bright red, with chinese characters beneath the work. The piece is three separate pieces placed together with Mao in the center. In We Rely on the Helmsman to Sail the Sea: To Undertake Revolution; We Rely on the Thoughts of Mao Zedong, the strong presence of the government on the country is seen through both the placement and colors used, as well as the title and Chinese phrase written beneath the work.
    Throughout the piece, the positioning of the objects and figures is extremely important to the overall message of the work. Chairman Mao is in the exact center of the lithograph. Not only does this make him the immediate focus but the stance that he maintains is also influential upon the message of the work. He stands, with a slightly stern look on his face, with his hands behind his back. This is indicative of a position that someone who knows they are in power would take. His expression comes across as unafraid as well, furthering the concept that he is not worried about losing the power that he maintains. Furthermore, the placement of the buildings surrounding Mao shows that his power spreads throughout all of China. This, along with the Chinese flag hanging over the sky, demonstrates the all encompassing nature of government, and presents a sort of feeling that they are both there to protect, while watching over everyone carefully, waiting for someone to mess up. Altogether the choices made regarding the layout present a strong Chine...


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... they see the lithograph in full above it. The propaganda aspect of this piece as seen through the words at the bottom demonstrate the power and national presence shown by the Chinese government over its people.
    The piece illustrates the Chinese government’s attempts to control the people of China through what is essentially a propaganda poster. The colors chosen to demonstrate the dominance of the government over the people’s choice, along with positioning, lines, and words written beneath the lithograph promote a strong, controlling Chinese force. There is no perceived weakness in the figure of Mao Zedong, and a potential united front among the Chinese as seen through the vast amount of red Chinese flags. As the work illustrates a resilient China it furthers the idea that China is also a major contender in the world and the potential outcome of events worldwide.

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