I made it back to Singapore in time to catch Yayoi Kusama’s show at the National Gallery Singapore! Earlier in the year, I was taking In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting from MoMA x Coursera (an excellent course if you’re looking for something to learn). Kusama was the last artist we studied and I happened to be in Singapore when doing some additional research and read about her show Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors at the Hirshhorn which I couldn’t get to in time : ( and the upcoming one in Singapore which was more feasible. I’ve come across her work here and there but have never had the opportunity to see such a large body of work together so was really looking forward to this.
infinity nets, 1952
The above red painting—Infinity Nets is one of my favourites from Life is the Heart of a Rainbow and was made with gouache, pastel and ink on paper in 1952. The exhibition room that held her black and white pieces from floor to ceiling was also quite stunning. There’s so much to see and discover in each piece of work.
A series of golden yellow oranges from the show…
dots obsession, 2017
pumpkin (twaqn), 2015
the spirits of the pumpkins descended into the heavens, 2017
and more dots and reflections.
invisible life, 2017
with all my love for the tulips, i pray forever, 2013-17
infinity mirrored room—gleaming lights of the soul, 2008
The Hirshhorn has organized a North American tour and dates are:
Art and Its Publics—What makes a Successful
The keynoters and panel speakers covered a lot ground. Conversations need to continue in guiding people towards embracing and understanding the necessity and power of the arts in our communities in whatever form they hold.
Apart from the confirmation that public/art/space/place/practice can never be fully defined or agreed upon ; ), some highlights, realizations, inspiration…
From the Factories—a website documenting the stories of artists and creatives utilizing space in the Kwun Tong factories and how things continue to be at odds with the revitalization policies of the government. This was especially interesting as I went on a walking tour last year organized by Hulu Culture to learn more about Kwun Tong’s history.
There’s been naturepile work happening on Lantau, Hong Kong created by Shekou International School sixth graders on their Week Without Walls trip.
It’s been exciting for me to follow along on their adventures and creations. Have a look here: @morganstudentart and also check out #naturepile. Tag yours as well if you fancy joining in on the fun :).
This exhibit opened last week at the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC). I meant to go on opening day but typhoon Nida also made an appearance so I ended up checking it out on Friday after teaching in the neighbourhood. There are activities and demonstrations scheduled throughout the day which you can register for in advance at the front entrance table. It wasn’t very busy when I arrived at 1:40pm so I took a look around at the exhibits and had a go at the tree-ring printing at two. One of the displays talked about the connected network of trees and I just came upon this piece in the New Yorker which is a fascinating read: The Secrets of the Wood Wide Web.
Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden
Twig installation above an autumn forest floor you can experience barefoot. The walls are calling out to you to draw leaves on.
Pangolin! I recently read about pangolins in a National Geographic magazine. I didn’t realize you can still find them in some protected areas of HK.
Add your fingerprint between the tree rings and choose an action card to make a change in your daily life for the betterment of the environment.
Wood carving demonstration by an artist but I didn’t stay for it.
Creating a frame for my tree ring print with twig shadows.
tree trunk sections
Learn about biochar being made at KFBG. These were my favourite ones.
Make nature pictures in the outdoor atrium space.
If you have elementary aged kids, they’d enjoy the space and activities so go see it before school starts up again this month.
Also in the neighbourhood…
Down the road from JCCAC are two other places you should check out:
Shek Kip Mei Estate—there’s an outdoor covered exhibition area about changes in the housing estate over the years. It’s a fascinating look into Hong Kong History and the Housing Authority.
Exhibition area map
They’ve all got cool names ; )
Some original brickwork… go find out when/what it’s from.
What games did your parents/grandparents play when they were kids?
Heritage of Mei Ho House Mei Ho House resulted from the 1953 Shek Kip Mei fire. It is now part hostel part musuem. Walk through the building to experience the history of the community and learn how public housing in Hong Kong came about. Closed Mondays.
carmel . chiang mai . vancouver
kenting . ymerbukta . taipei
singapore . san francisco . oslo
Apart from Chiang Mai where I lived for the month of October in 2014, these are a few of the places I was lucky enough to spend time in this past year—being in nature, catching up with old friends, encountering new ones.
2015 concluded in Hong Kong with #naturepile 127
It was strangely a year of equal high highs and low lows. Came across these words recently in The Grand Paradox. Continuing to work on the latter.
This year holds more additions of north american gems to the naturepile collection. East coast (and unexpectedly west again) I’m coming for ya! Midwest, fingers crossed, but I do need to finish up my school photo series. Squeezing in some koala spotting time as well as other projects in the works.
It’ll be an interesting one.
Where will 2016 lead you?
Stop from time to time to reflect, make a naturepile or two, and send some love. Have a creative and adventureful year.
Social Acupuncture in the Tai Ping Shan Area is part of the West Kowloon Cultural District’s New Works Forum, “a platform for Hong Kong artists working across different fields who are interested in expanding their practice into new areas, to explore innovative ways of creating and performing, thinking and discussing topics around contemporary performances.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about what community art is and how the meeting of history, people and social issues are remembered, shared and celebrated. The event was a good place to start to see what is going on in Hong Kong. How is it that we engage people through the arts to speak up/out and tell their stories? Their “open notebook” session concluded their five day workshop facilitated by Darren O’Donnell. Groups shared their learning journey and project ideas they wanted to put in place. It’d be interesting to see next steps and what direction the projects are actually taken in.
“cup cup hor ngai”
Darren sharing about his previous projects which were fascinating–taking performance, engagement and participation to another level.
What can we learn from + teach others?
Had a bit of time beforehand–HK Museum of Medical Sciences. The roofed annex at the bottom is where the event took place.
Tree alley off of Ladder Street
The Tai Ping Shan area is well worth exploring. The Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences has a walking medical heritage trail map you can pick up and use, follow one of the heritage trails from the Antiquities and Monuments Office, or just go down Ladder street and check out the intersecting streets. Some unique stores around Square Street area as well.
Giving online courses a go and signed up for Art & Activity: Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art on Coursera. We’ve just finished week two and it’s been going well. What I’ve enjoyed most so far has been the readings assigned each week which has introduced me to a few more current authors and their research along with the opportunity to revisit some well known education writers. Have been trying out Evernote and Notability for the PDFs but reckon I still prefer holding the articles on paper and being able to write, draw and colour over them. As for the videos, they’re informative but missing that connection of a real person sharing their knowledge and passion with you and feels more like you’re being talked at. The forums are overloaded and you just have to pick and choose where to look and engage. It’s a different kind of dialogue. A great positive of the course is that it’s free, which I find pretty amazing. There was the option of joining Coursera’s Signature Track for a fee to get a verified certificate but I’m putting that towards other learning funds, perhaps grad school…though that amount is merely a drop, if a drop at all, in the bucket ; ). I’m taking the coming year to explore learning + arts in community spaces and this has provided me a glimpse into museum education.
Any notable online courses you’ve taken or come across? I’m considering some design classes on Skillshare for the upcoming months and will see what other offerings are on Coursera.
I came across these last month going through my things that were in storage at my sister’s. This was part of a project I did in uni documenting and cataloguing the overlooked in a city and the beginning of my obsession with sewers/grates/covers. Avoiding traffic to collect rubbings in the middle of the street was most memorable. I’ve gone the quicker route of photographing now and you can see the growing collection here. Doesn’t compare to running around with pads of newsprint and messing about with charcoal though…perhaps something to return to in the future.