Many of us have a box in which we store memoirs and keepsakes of the past. And every memory forms part of a story.
Recently, a group of local senior citizens took part in an art project to share their memories and stories with the public. The result is a multimedia installation art exhibition entitled "Grandpa Grandma Memory Boxes" which opened today (September 6) at the Exhibition Hall of the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre and will run until September 18. In addition to works by the seniors the exhibition showcases creations by six established artists. Some of the participants suffer from visual disabilities and some with early dementia, but they were all eager to grasp the opportunity to get in touch with art through the project, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of art creation. The project also enables the public to explore the "hidden world" of the elderly and offers a glimpse into the culture of our collective past.
"Grandpa Grandma Memory Boxes" is a community art project organised with the collaboration of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's Art Promotion Office (APO) and Art for All, with the dedicated support and participation of i-dArt, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals.
The exhibition was officially opened today by the Assistant Director (Heritage and Museums) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Dr Louis Ng; Assistant Ombudsman of the Office of the Ombudsman, Hong Kong and Advisor to Art for All, Mr Tony Ma; Assistant Community Services Secretary (Rehabilitation Services) of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, Ms Christian Kan; the Chairperson of Art for All, Dr Evelyna Liang Kan; and Chief Curator of the Art Promotion Office, Ms Lesley Lau.
The project invited six local artists – Hazel Chiu, Lina Har, Evelyna Liang, Mak Siu-fung, Wong Wing-fung and Bellini Yu – to hold a series of multi-art workshops for a group of elderly citizens aged over 85. Through music, food, painting, photography and games held in a carefree atmosphere, the workshops encouraged the seniors to recall happy and memorable moments from their lives. Dusting off their memories and sharing long-forgotten stories, they even handcrafted their own unique boxes to help express their recollections. The exhibits include hilarious costume-play photos, black-and-white photographic portraits of the elderly in a nostalgic film-star style, large-scale collaborative paintings and miniature personal collection treasure boxes.
Also on display are multimedia works created by the six participating artists, who were inspired by the seniors during the creative process. Hazel Chiu's photographs capture the beauty of their faces embedded with time and experience. Lina Har combined their works with post-boxes and letters in heartfelt dialogues, while Evelyna Liang's painting installations, which require audience interaction, are a reminder of the presence of the elderly artists. Mak Siu-fung's monochrome photographs portray the seniors in a nostalgic film star style, while Wong Wing-fung's collection of sounds and sights recorded from the seniors documents a vast inheritance of wisdom and culture. Bellini Yu uses a light installation to look back at herself through the elderly artists' eyes and memories.
Also highlighted at the exhibition are works from the Embracing the Setting Sun Project run by the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals. Participants include hospital residents with chronic, terminal or critical illnesses as well as their family members, caregivers and volunteers who came together to express themselves through art.
Selected works from the exhibition will also be showcased at i-dArt, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, from late October 2012 onwards.
Those who wish to learn more about the project can join a sharing session titled "Artists Sharing Session: Connecting with Grandpa Grandma through Art", to be held on September 8 from 3pm to 4.30pm at the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre. The participating artists will share their reflections on how they developed a caring relationship with the senior artists. The session will be conducted in Cantonese. For registration and details of other related activities, please call i-dArt, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals at 2870 9336 or 3482 6163.
The Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre is located at 7A Kennedy Road, Central. It is open daily from 10am to 9pm and is closed on Tuesdays. Admission is free for the exhibition.
For details of the exhibition visit the APO's webpage www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Apo/en/programmes201207_5.html or call 3101 2713 .
Ends/Thursday, September 6, 2012
"A Collection of Supernovae - Ordinary People's Grand Events" - a photo installation by Mak Siu-fung.
"Hugger Seat" - an interactive sound installation by Evelyna Liang.
The seniors, wearing costumes they created, take part in costume play.
"The Cabinets of Memories series" - a multi-media installation by Wong Wing-fung.