Born in Beijing, China in 1953, Zhao emigrated to Australia in October 2001. He was a Professor at the Capital Normal University in Beijing. His work was seen in the All-China Teachers exhibition in 1987, The Great Wall exhibition in 1988 and the National Art Exhibition in 1992. He has had four solo shows in Rome, the most recent in 2000, and won the Campidolio Oro gold award in 1993 from the International Institute of Cultural Unity of Italy. In June 2001, he was the only Asian-Pacific artist represented in the first Men for Earth exhibition for the United Nations in Rome where he was awarded a silver medal. In 2003 he won People’s Choice for his portrait of Professor Stephen FitzGerald in the Archibald Prize.