Visit to Hong Kong and the Art of Yang Shen-sum


Hong Kong is another city with incessant activity. The streets are constantly filled with taxis, buses and people from all over the world. The difference here, like other cities I have visited so far on this journey, is a certain sense of calmness. People appear to be not so driven to get somewhere and walk around in a more casual pace. For me, it made being in the city more tolerable.

The first art museum I visited here was the Hong Kong Museum of Art. A significant portion of their collection was of ceramics and carved objects. The quality level of the work was very high, even for objects more than two thousand years old.

The great discovery for me, however, was on the top floor. The galleries here had many examples of traditional and contemporary brush painting. One painter of note was Yang Shen-sum who passed away this past May. The museum had put together a fairly large collection of his work and it was worthwhile to see.

Even better than the paintings, however, was a DVD showing Shen-sum at work. For me, it was thought-provoking to see his use of the brush. His whole approach appeared to be more about letting the brush do more of the work and letting his hand be the guide. This approach allowed for very fluid brushwork with terrific variety of edges, shapes and value. Watching Shen-sum paint was so useful, that I came back the next day to watch again. Later, I spoke with Jennifer Chu Shui-ping, a curator at the museum, who put me in touch with the person who made the DVD. So, I had the good fortune to buy a copy the day I left Hong Kong!

Next: HK island visit with Andrew Leung

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