Cai Guo-Qiang was born in Quanzhou, He Nan Province in 1957. He graduated from the Shanghai Theatre Academy in 1985. Guo-Qiang’s work is often associated with gunpowder, which he uses as a metaphor for the social climate and cultural tradition of China. He was selected as a finalist for the 1996 Hugo Boss Prize and won the 48th Venice Biennale International Golden Lion Prize and 2001 CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts. In 2008, he was subject to a large-scale mid-career retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, which eventually traveled to the National Art Museum of China in Beijing and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. He also gained widespread attention as the Director of Visual and Special Effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.