Small Family with One Baby

Sun Hongbin


Production date

Object Detail

oil on canvas
35 x 25 cm
Sometimes there is sadness mixed with the gentle humour in Sun Hongbin's paintings. Small Family with One Baby (2012) suggests the miseries caused by China’s One Child Policy, introduced in 1979 and only phased out in 2015–16. In this work, the proudly grinning father and stunned-looking mother show off a baby as odd as any infant Jesus seen in a late medieval painting of the Madonna and Child. Awkwardly placed in the bottom half of the canvas, with a large area of empty space behind them mirroring their isolation and loneliness, the parents are, says Sun, ‘forcing themselves to put a smile on their face’, pretending happiness they do not feel.
Accession number
Artist details