Mao Tongqiang was born in 1960 in Yinchuan, China. In 1980, he graduated from the Fine Art Department at Ningxia University. From 1984 to 1986, he continued his studies in the Oil Painting Department at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now the China Academy of Art). He currently lives and works in Yinchuan and Beijing.
Since the 1990s, he has focused on the meaning of human life in a changing society. He created the series Death Files to show his concern for humanity, society, and politics. In his series of important 2008 works, such as Tools, Title Deeds, and Classics, he used classic ready-mades from the three realms of heaven, earth, and man. From a sociological perspective, he thoroughly explores essential questions of freedom, human rights, and belief in Chinese society. Most recently, Mao Tongqiang has further developed these themes; in I Have a Dream, Family, and Files, he used the field methods of archeological excavation to create serious and conclusive artworks that are deeply connected to Chinese society today.
He has held solo exhibitions at the Singapore Art Museum, China Art Archive and Warehouse, Wall Art Museum, and Songzhuang Art Museum. He has participated in major international exhibitions at Bergen Art Museum, Groninger Museum, and Deichtorhallen.