Li Baohua (David) met Francis Giacco when they both had portraits hung in the 1994 Archibald. Li was represented by a portrait of Hazel Hawke, while Giacco’s Family self-portrait won the prize that year. Since then, they have remained good friends.
“We have similar opinions about art,” says Li. “He is a very realistic artist – which is my favourite art. He’s very unique. He’s very honest and naïve, a very artistic person, and he’s been very supportive of me. He’s not interested in politics, just paint, paint, paint.”
Li found Giacco’s hands difficult to paint. “I said to him, ‘You’ve got short, fat hands!’ He’s got good eyes and a very good head – very interesting for a painter.”
Just as Giacco likes to put objects into his paintings as symbols, so Li has chosen to include an Oriental statue as a symbol of Giacco’s interest in art and craft. “He’s very interested in Oriental art,” says Lio. “He has hundreds of things like that in his studio.”
Born in Shanghai in 1963, Li received a university diploma from the Shanghai Arts College. In 1987 he was represented in the China Oil Painting Exhibition. Arriving in Australia in 1989, he was the winner of the inaugural 1994 BDO Portrait Exhibition, held in association with the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize.