Behind-the-Scenes Video: President Barack Obama’s Gift to President Hu Jintao of China

In honor of President Hu’s State Visit, President Obama presented the Chinese leader with a painting created by the Zhou Brothers. Based in President Obama’s hometown of Chicago, Illinois, DaHuang and Shan Zuo Zhou are distinguished Chinese American contemporary artists known for their unique collaborative work process. Their thinking, aesthetic and creativity are a symbiosis of Eastern and Western philosophy.

It’s an original multi-textural oil painting on canvas measuring 86 inches wide and 68 inches high — 8 and 6 are lucky numbers that coincide with China’s country code 86. From the Great Wall of China to the portraits of the eight U.S. Presidents since President Nixon’s historic trip to China in 1972, the painting is replete with imagery and motifs that represent 5,000 years of Chinese culture and the friendship that our two countries have shared and will continue on together into the future.

The Zhou Brothers were on hand Tuesday night for the gift exchange between the two Presidents. With White House and State Department staff huddled around, the Zhou brothers explained the significance of the painting, what the gift symbolizes, and their passion for and love of America.

Kalpen Modi is an Associate Director in the Office of Public Engagement

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