1980 Who is Lack of Skill?
The story behind this painting is about a tiger’s first encounter with donkey. At the beginning the tiger was frightened by the strange sound the donkey made. But on realizing that the only skill the donkey had was to kick with its back hooves, it came in for the kill. Thus the saying of ‘The Skill of a Donkey’ is often used to refer to people with limited abilities. The title, ‘Who is Lack of Skill?’ is of a donkey performing an extraordinary act of standing on its head, reflects Huang Yao’s sense of humor and sensitivity towards animals and the underdogs of society. It was a leaning of the artist’s character dating back to his Niu Bizi cartoons of the 1930s Shanghai.
The Song scholar-artists considered painting as not just a record of sensory experience, decorative or didactic in intent. It is a reflection of the artist's mind, a revelation of his personality, and an expression of deeply held values. Huang Yao being fully aware of the power of a painting and the meaning of what the painting represents went a step further. He chose contents that would benefit the viewers, it could be entertaining, giving hope or educating them.