Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin’s Head

The Gao Brothers, China


UPDATE March 11, 2022:

The sculpture made the journey from Vancouver to San Antonio, Texas where it is located next to the Texas Public Radio station near Commerce Street in the downtown district.  San Antonio developer James Lifschultz arranged with the Gao Brothers and Houston’s Deborah Colton Gallery for the artwork to come to San Antonio to join the revitalization of the Zona Cultural, the city’s birthplace and home to many of the city’s most historic and iconic locations and institutions.


Title: Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin’s Head 
Artists: Gao Zhen (b. 1956, China) and Gao Qiang (b. 1962, China)
Medium: Stainless steel
Dimensions (H x W x D): 648 × 599 × 419 cm (255 x 236 x 165 inches)
Previous Location (2009-2011 exhibition): Richmond, British Columbia


The artwork titled Miss Mao Trying to Poise Herself at the Top of Lenin’s Head is part of a series of sculptures by the Gao Brothers depicting the image of the Chinese ruler Mao Zedong, titled Lady Mao. This massive stainless steel sculpture features two iconic historical figures: Chairman Mao depicted as a diminutive Miss Mao delicately balancing on the head of Vladimir Lenin.

In this artwork, through the use of satire, the Gao Brothers have consciously chosen to play the role of critic to the political environment of their homeland. This sculpture can be read as a narrative, commenting on the relationship between the two leaders and their ideologies, as well as a reflection on the current nostalgic attitude toward Mao.

The Gao Brothers made their Canadian debut with this sculpture, which was installed in Richmond, British Columbia, for the Vancouver Biennale’s 2009-2011 exhibition.

About the Artist and Artwork