This is not food, nor is this a dessert
259 x 162 cm
Oil on canvas and wooden board

In the painting, the shark has become a dessert, an ice-cream about to melt. This mimics real life, as animal numbers dwindle and nature disintegrates. The painting looks like an enlarged photograph. This objective representation encourages the viewer to adopt a similarly objective approach. By representing the shark as an appetising dessert in unnatural colours, the artist has also highlighted the risk of food contamination posed by water pollution. The image of the girl holding the lollipop, with her mouth open ready to bite the shark, suggests that young people tend not to think about the consequences of their actions. It also demonstrates the tendency for humans to underestimate significant issues. Humans focus on economic gain and overlook the environmental impact of their actions. Shark might be a delicacy, a luxury good, however humanity has failed to grasp the real value of sharks. They are irreplaceable treasures. They are not simply human sustenance, and they are not luxury goods which have been created to satisfy human desire.


Born in 1983 in Taiwan, Hou Zhongying graduated from the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in 2012. In his early paintings, he focused on human interaction and the relationship between society and humanity. His realism symbolises a fascination with nature. He has participated in both solo and group exhibitions both in China and abroad.