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Museum of Art to showcase ink paintings by Lau Ping-hang

Fifty-two representative landscape and flower paintings created by veteran Hong Kong painter and teacher Lau Ping-hang from the 1950s to the 1990s will go on display tomorrow (September 16).

The exhibition, "The Way of Landscape – Donation of Chinese Ink Painting by Mr Lau Ping-hang", will run at the Hong Kong Museum of Art until November 27, 2005.

The paintings offer audiences an opportunity to appreciate Mr Lau's skill in capturing the beauty of the landscape, particularly mountains and rivers. Donated by Mr Lau's wife, Mrs Lau Phung Le-hong, these works along with 19 other paintings have become part of the Museum of Art's permanent collection.

The exhibition was opened today (September 15) by the Chief Curator of the Museum of Art, Dr Christina Chu Kam-leun and Mrs Lau Phung Le-hong.

Lau Ping-hang (1915-2003), a native of Panyu in Guangdong province, was born into a well-educated family. He was initiated into the study of poetry at school at a young age. During his spare time he studied painting and art theory under some famous painters, including Pan Zhizhong and Zhang Guchu, who taught him landscape painting, and Yao Suruo, who taught him art theory. From 1933 to 1937, Lau studied art at the Canton Municipal Arts Institute.

Lau, an expert in traditional Chinese painting, was proficient in the techniques of the Four Great Painters of the Yuan dynasty and the Four Monks of the late Ming dynasty. He also excelled in portraiture, and in the depiction of flowers, trees, birds, insects and fish. As a master of landscape painting, Lau demonstrated his sophisticated skills in early works featuring lush mountains and grand rivers. His later creations exuded elegance and displayed the temperament of a learned scholar. The artist also wrote occasionally, creating literary works characterised by a graceful and lucid style. As a wordsmith, his poems were fresh and conveyed deep thoughts. This explains the poetic style and rich ideas embodied in his paintings.

After moving to Hong Kong in 1948, Lau devoted himself to teaching aspiring artists. Active in promoting art in Hong Kong, he took part in numerous exhibitions and, in 1958, co-founded, with artist friends, the "Hong Kong Chinese Art Club". He moved to Taiwan in the 1980s and became a newspaper art columnist. In 1996, he emigrated to the US, where he retired.

Lau was among a handful of Hong Kong artists gifted at both painting and poetry. The foundation of his art lay in the techniques of the ancient Chinese painters, and it was on that basis that he honed his skills and developed a vast array of new techniques. Lau liked to instil poetic elements in his paintings, which explains the multiple layers of meaning and a mixture of modern and ancient symbols in his works.

Lau was a learned scholar with an acute sensibility for art and life. His writings demonstrate his love for his country and its people, his passion for life and his insatiable curiosity. Lau attached great importance to the intention to create art. "When I teach my students, I only expect them to focus on self-cultivation," he said.

The Museum of Art is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It opens from 10am to 6pm daily. It is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays). Admission is $10 and a half-price concession is available to full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities. Admission is free on Wednesdays.

For enquiries, call 2721 0116 or visit the Museum of Art’s website at .

Ends/Thursday, September 15, 2005

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