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Wooden sculptures take audience on journey of hope

     Have you ever experienced the difficulty of being unable to express your grief when a family member or close friend has a serious illness? Let artist Foon Sham share with you his own experience through the exhibition, "Sea of Hope - Works by Foon Sham", which runs from today (August 31) until September 14 at the Exhibition Gallery, Tsuen Wan Town Hall. Sham's wooden sculptures convey the transformation of the artist's wishes and memories into hope.

    "Sea of Hope - Works by Foon Sham" is the second exhibition in the "Artists in the Neighbourhood Scheme V", organised by the Art Promotion Office (APO) of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. With the support of Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Art in Hospital, some of the exhibits will be moved to the Hospital Gallery of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for display from September 17 until October 10.

     The exhibition was officially opened today by the Assistant Director (Heritage and Museums) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Dr Louis Ng; Expert Adviser to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Mr Kan Tai-keung; and the artist Mr Foon Sham.

     Often used as a way of celebrating happiness, art can also be used for sharing sorrow. Sham experienced periods of depression following the death of his mother from cancer, and he decided to create a wooden vessel to express his hope that his mother would be able to continue her journey in peace and harmony. His family also took part in the creation by making paper boats and writing messages on them to convey their emotions. The process of sharing may have been simple, but the deep and heartfelt work brought great relief to them all.

     This vessel, which became Sham's artwork "Sea of Hope", was also a symbol of healing. Sham loves to use his most familiar material, wood, as the media of creation. He believes that wood and humans have comparable characteristics. For example, the annual growth rings that mark a tree's age are as unique as human's fingerprints. Sham has honed his skills by creating large sculptures in wood, but the limited availability of resources means that he has to look for assistance and co-operation to complete his art. To this end he communicates and collaborates with others to finish his works, and takes great pleasure in the experience as he shares the joy of creation with his fellow participants.

     During this exhibition, Sham will also invite the audience to share their thoughts and feelings by writing messages to deceased loved ones on a paper boat and placing it next to the wooden vessel as an extension of the work. By means of wooden sculpture, wooden blocks and pencil on paper, the artist guides viewers to observe the transformation of life and that of the material - from tree to wood, from wood to paper and finally as a combination of wood and paper. The wood in his creations presents different stages in the course of life - a special journey that audiences can all take part in.

     To coincide with the exhibition, a series of educational programmes will be organised. Sham will meet members of the audience and share his experiences with them at the gallery on September 3 from 3pm to 3.30pm. After the sharing session, a tutor will assist participants in creating their own small boats with wooden blocks in the "Repetition. Formation - 3 Dimensional Art Workshop". Additionally, Sham and his sister will also hold a sharing workshop at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on September 19 for chronically ill patients. These activities will be conducted in Cantonese and admission is free. For reservations, please contact the APO's Community Art Team on 3101 2712 or 3101 2713.

     A Braille version of the exhibition pamphlet is available. Free guided tours will also be offered to the public and school groups. For bookings, contact the Community Art Team.

     The Tsuen Wan Town Hall is located at 72 Tai Ho Road, Tsuen Wan. Its Exhibition Hall is open daily from 10am to 8pm. The Hospital Gallery is located at the Lobby, Block D, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, 30 Gascoigne Road, Kowloon. It is open daily from 9am to 9pm. Admission is free.

     For details of the exhibition and related activity, visit APO's webpage

Ends/Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The installation work, "Sea of Hope" created by Foon Sham. The artist invites viewers to take part in the creation by writing messages on paper boats featured at the exhibition.


"Urn #11", one of Foon Sham's wooden sculptures for this exhibition.





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