Angry Chinese Cook


In many ways, Angry Chinese Cook is the center piece of William's West to East collection.

The painting clearly depicts an Asian chef chasing a western chef.

The Asian man wears an eastern style straw hat, his chefs whites are similar to an Asian tunic and his trousers are red to signify China.

Whereas the western style man wears a more familiar western chefs outfit with a theatrical tall chefs hat, fitted white cooks top and blue trouser to signify the USA.

In the painting, it is clear that the eastern man is wielding his cleaver toward the western chef.

Interestingly, the eastern man is looking back, his eyes are not on his immediate chaser, but in the distance to stage left. Possibly there are more people chasing him, a larger pack?

The painting is a metaphor for the east chasing the west... for China making claim to dominance and super power status at the expense of the west.

A more obvious way to think of this is in the role of commerce.

Simply replace the Chinese cook with the company Alibaba and replace the western chef with Amazon, then the true meaning of the picture becomes more relevant.

Replace the eastern chef with Tencent and the western chef with Facebook or Disney and the painting tells a different story.

Likewise, if you replace the eastern chef with Baidu and the western chef with Google, the painting makes even more sense.

Whatever the time... whatever the company... this story will hold true for centuries to come.

Whilst our attention in the painting is focused on the two chefs, it's hard to miss the tall giant man sat in the distance. Why is he there? "he's there because he has to be there" says the artist. "He's there to make us think".

But in this painting, he is less noticeable than in other paintings. Almost unnoticeable. Almost 'the elephant in the room'. Could that elephant be the unspeakable? That the US is losing its global dominance to the East?

These are clues for you to discuss the painting.