Yuan Xiaocen (1915-2008) was from Puding, Guizhou Province. He entered the Literature and History Department of Yunnan University in 1938, where he discovered Chinese painting, sculpture and poetry. During his student years, he produced anti-war exhibitions for workers and soldiers. After graduation, he earned his living as an artist. In 1959, he joined the Fine Arts Department of the Yunnan Art Academy, and in 1963 he accepted a teaching position in the Fine Arts Department of Kunming Normal College. He returned to the Yunnan Art Academy in 1978 to become a professor.
Yuan was known for his sculptures and Chinese paintings.