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Collection campaign on Yang Shan Shen's works launched

The Secretary for Home Affairs, Dr Patrick Ho Chi-ping, announced today (June 29) that the Government would consider establishing a commemorative gallery in honour of Mr Yang Shan Shen, the master of the Lingnan School of Chinese Painting.

At a press conference on the Collection Campaign on Yang Shan Shen's Works, Dr Ho said the Government was exploring the possibility to have the planned commemorative gallery set up in the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

"When planning a commemorative gallery, it is essential to equip the Heritage Museum with a permanent collection which will be substantial enough to reflect the development and achievements of the master in his artistic creation. And the Heritage Museum has been, in fact, working hard for years in this direction," Dr Ho said.

He revealed that the Yang's family also supported the idea of setting up a commemorative gallery in the Heritage Museum and they had recently provided the museum with a number of paintings and calligraphy, sketches, personal letters, photos and books selected from Yang's collection. He said, however, the museum still lacked a number of representative works and a collection campaign had been initiated.

"Yang's students also appreciate the importance of establishing a significant collection for the gallery under planning and some of them have already promised to donate representative works by Yang to the museum for this purpose," Dr Ho said.

He encouraged the public to support the collection campaign to help realise the plan of establishing the commemorative gallery.

Currently, the Hong Kong Museum of Art has a collection of 34 paintings and calligraphy by Yang, including the famous works - "Tiger Staring Back", "Blooming Flowers under Moonlight", "Landscape" and "Lady Playing Qin Zither at Night" etc, whereas the Heritage Museum has a collection of eight items.

Yang had expressed his wish of having a thematic gallery featuring his works established in a local museum and indicated his intention of donating his works to the museum. The donation he proposed, however, only contains his works created in the 1990s and later years. To enrich the content of the commemorative gallery under planning, there is a need to launch a collection campaign to widely collect representative works by Yang created in different eras and in different themes as well as related materials for research purpose.

Yang Shan Shen (1913 - 2004) was born at Chiqi, Taishan in Guangdong Province. In 1936, Yang travelled to Japan and was enrolled into the Domoto Art Institute, Kyoto and studied with the well-known painter Domoto Insho. In 1970, he was awarded an honorary degree from the Chinese Academic Research Institute, Taiwan. In 1999, he was awarded "Fellowship for Achievement in Visual Arts" by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. In his late years, Yang had donated a masterpiece "Pine and Moon" which was collected by the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China. With his superb accomplishment in and contribution to art, he was awarded a SBS from the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. On May 15, 2004, Yang passed away at his home in Hong Kong.

His works have been extensively exhibited in Hong Kong, China and overseas. In 1981, the Hong Kong Museum of Art presented his solo exhibition - "The Art of Yang Shanshen" with a catalogue published. In 1995, the Museum of Art presented again a major exhibition - "Lingnan Spirit - A Retrospective of Yang Shanshen" and published a catalogue as well.

Inspired by the great master Gao Jianfu, Yang's works carry on the legacy of the Lingnan School of Chinese Painting and he paid much attention to observe landscapes, birds, animals and objects in nature to capture their essence with a sense of modernity.

The founding of his private "Chunfeng Art Club" in Hong Kong also contributed much to the continuous development of the Lingnan School of Chinese Painting as well as modern ink painting and art education in the locality.

For enquiries and donation, please contact the Heritage Museum on 2180 8108.

Ends/Tuesday, June 29, 2004
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