kadoorie art residency

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I officially began my art residency at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden earlier this month. These past few weeks have been spent exploring, prepping materials and planning workshops for October and November.

The area I decided to focus on is around the Art House and since it’s quite small on the existing map, I walked the space and drew out my own. This includes the fruit forest on the left and the area behind the Art House—the hills, waterfall, stream, Walter Kerr Gardens and Wildlife Walkthrough.

This is one of the enlarged maps, similar to the smaller ones participants will be using on their exploration and collecting walks. The waterfall pictured on the right is so far, my favourite place at KFBG. Can you find it on my map ; )?

Always delighted at discovering new things each time I go walking in the same places. This was the most interesting find of the day.

Some other visitors came by and said they were mushrooms but I showed them the stalk I think they fell from and convinced them it was a fruit of some sort. I made a quick naturepile of course—too good to pass by.

 

Here are some other items I came across and brought back to the art house. The shell is unexpectedly thin.

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Before heading off to class, I met three of my four rescued neighbours. They live in the reptile garden next door. They’ve got much personality I feel inclined to make some art about them in the near future.

To the left is Pineapple Bun! He’s a radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata). Actually his name is Por-law-bao, which does mean pineapple bun in Cantonese. I totally see it in the shape of his shell. There are also two elongated tortoises—Kay and Sam, of which I only saw one. I have to study their markings a bit more to distinguish them apart. Lastly is Oak Ye, a bengal monitor (Varanus bengalensis) who was digging at that spot for quite a while.

That’s all for this week from Kadoorie as I won’t be going in again because of mid-autumn festival. Have a good one, eat a mooncake or two and take some time to look upon the moon.

 

 

 

fantastic forests

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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.

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.
  • 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.

Social Acupuncture

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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.

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.

 

 

it begins with metamorphosis, xu bing

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Two things that came to mind first at the show: Chronicle Books and The Noun Project.

It was interesting to see his interpretation and use of such varied materials in his art. There is certainly something amongst all his work that you can connect with and communication I felt was a prominent theme. There’s still time to catch his show which will be on until August 31. The Old Victoria Barracks, Former Explosives Magazine site where the Asia Society Hong Kong Center is located is itself worth the visit.

GIN852 x inside out

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Inside Out came to mind as we met earlier this school year in planning for GIN852.  We felt it would spark interest and highlight the global issues for our community. Being a student led conference hosted by our school this year, all I had to do was suggest the idea to the planning team and they made it happen : ).

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So, I finally got to do a pasting! It’s been on my list for a while now. Next up: spray painting.

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Read a fair bit on cooking up glue and this is what I ended up deciding to do for the size of pot available:

  • 3 cups flour + 3 cups water
  • 12 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • an unknown amount of copper sulphate (we put this in because we had it and it was suggested by some. Our resident chemists said it’d help preserve the posters and extend their life on the wall. I think we added a few teaspoonfuls which just darkened the paste slightly)
  1. Mix 3 cups flour + 3 cups water until smooth.
  2. Stir into the 12 cups of boiling water
  3. Cook a few minutes until the paste thickens.
  4. Pour into a bucket. After cooling slightly, stir in 3 cups of sugar (and copper sulphate).
  5. When cool enough to handle, apply paste to wall, adhere poster, then add a top coat of another layer of paste.

For 20 posters (36in x 53in), we used exactly four batches of the wheatpaste.

notes:

  • I used wheat flour because it happened to be the cheapest at the store but the paste came out with a yellow tint which did show up in lighter areas. If there are a lot of white spaces in whatever you’re pasting up, perhaps use bleached white flour.
  • Really make sure there are no lumps in your water+flour mixture before adding it to the boiling water. I learned that the hard way.
  • As long as your wall is not too rough and the wheatpaste not too hot, applying paste with your hand is the most efficient way to go.

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Below are the twenty global issues outlined by Jean Francois Rischard in High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them. Student leaders from the various schools taking part in the conference selected an issue they wanted to address in Hong Kong and over the 2 day conference, facilitated their Global Action Network Group (GANG) to create an action plan to utilize.

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Sharing our planet: Issues involving the global community

  • Global warming
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem losses
  • Fisheries depletion
  • Deforestation
  • Water deficits
  • Maritime safety and pollution

Sharing our humanity: Issues requiring a global commitment

  • Massive step-up in the fight against poverty
  • Peacekeeping, conflict prevention, combating terrorism
  • Education for all
  • Global infectious diseases
  • Digital divide
  • Natural disaster prevention and mitigation

Sharing our rule book: Issues needing a global regulatory approach

  • Reinventing taxation for the twenty-first century
  • Biotechnology rules
  • Global financial architecture
  • Illegal drugs
  • Trade, investment, and competition rules
  • Intellectual property rights
  • E-commerce rules
  • International labor and migration rules

work in progress

Rather impressed with Swire for putting this on. Above Second Gallery curated the show which ended today. Street art taken into the “gallery” space. Lot of interesting pieces made and questions to ponder.

dragon’s back

One of the easier hikes to get to that offers spectacular views…when the weather is cooperating.

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People often ask how to get there and since I just did the hike on Sunday with friends leaving HK for good : ( , along with my fondness of maps which hindered my ability to accurately estimate the amount of time I really had post school being done and heading off for travels, it has become my Google Maps assignment.  Go enjoy the great HK outdoors…even in the rain!

hk farm

Took a cyanotype class at HK FARM a few weekends ago taught by artist and photographer Martin Cheung. I do love any sort of printing but also wanted to learn more about HK FARM’s rooftop garden and bees. We’re doing some growing at school and looking to expand our edible farm. Currently awaiting the arrival of a composter and will soon be partnering up with local organic farmers.  Exciting times.

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the power of reading

Stories and storytelling are powerful.

Read for pleasure.

Bring Me a Book Hong Kong presented a talk by Dr. Stephen Krashen on literacy and language development this past Saturday. It was a very engaging talk and one that I wished went longer.

I appreciated his candidness on his 30+ years of work and research and how current he has stayed in his field and with popular culture.  Made for an entertaining morning.

Some learning points:

  • Language acquisition, which leads to fluency is much more important than language learning, which leads to accuracy.
  • Language acquisition is effortless and involuntary.
  • Comprehensible input is key–we acquire language when we understand it.
  • The best kind of comprehensible input is beyond interesting, it needs to be COMPELLING.  This kind of input is difficult to find.
  • Free voluntary reading (self selected and can be narrow) is the most effective for language and literacy development.
  • Access to books results in more reading.  Children, especially those of poverty, need access to books.
  • Rewards given for doing something that is already pleasant (eg. reading) sends the wrong message.

There needs to be a shift in thinking in how language is “taught”, especially here in Hong Kong where everyone pretty much is learning a language of some sort whether it be Mandarin, English, Cantonese, or in my case, Spanish. The video of Dr. Krashen’s talk is supposed to be posted on the Bring Me a Book site soon–which I will make sure to encourage everyone at school to watch.  Along with my four colleagues who also attended the talk, am looking forward to sharing our love of reading :) and new learning with the faculty.  It will be interesting to dialogue about how our students learn language.

“We are so intent on achievement we are doing things that are anti-achievement…we all need time for creativity.” –Krashen

 

After Dr. Krashen’s talk, Dr. Christy Lao shared about her work with second language acquisition and a summer Chinese reading program in San Francisco.  She talked about how it was set-up/run and focused on the use of comic books/manga to draw kids into reading. She also touched on the challenges and successes of using technology like iPads.  I am always keen to hear and learn more about various programs taking place around the world and to see what the possibilities are.  Am passionate about literacy, particularly in regards to how it ties in with art and what better way to share our stories than through picture making, writing, and book arts.  Will need to work on a plan.