Zhao Bandi
Chinese, born 1966
Blue chip
Represented by internationally recognized galleries.
Selected exhibitions
Fuck Off Generation: Chinese Art in The Post-Mao Era Part II,
Ethan Cohen New York
Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World,
Guggenheim Museum
Chinese Whispers: Recent Art from the Sigg & M+ Sigg Collections,
Kunstmuseum Bern

Known as “the panda man,” Zhao Bandi has made a name for himself creating a series of paintings, sculptures, installations, and costumes featuring representations of, allusions to, and even feces from panda bears. Impervious to the hailstorm of criticism he faces for allegedly exploiting a beloved national symbol, Zhao clings to the panda motif, using it blur the boundaries between art, advertising, and political activism. For instance, an acclaimed photographic series features computer-enhanced photographs of himself in dialogue (through speech bubbles) with a stuffed panda about issues such as drug abuse, air pollution, violence, and unemployment. For Zhao, the panda symbolizes China’s one-child policy, but his criticism is indirect: “I realized Panda's potential as a spokesperson, that through him I could talk about culture and society in a soft, humorous way,” he says.