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Guigen Zha was born in Nanjing, China, and spent his early artistic career working as an art instructor, animation background artist, and graphic designer in Nanjing, Shenzhen, and Shanghai. He came to the United States in 2011, and completed his MFA at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2018. Zha's paintings are rooted in his cross-cultural life experience, superimposing Eastern subject matter and aesthetics with Western techniques and conceptual approach. In the body of work Zha brings to the 2021 February Exhibit, cut flowers symbolize the isolation and yearning of the pandemic era, and the ways we bring notes of hope into an era of constraint and loneliness.