sound bites

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 July, 2006, 12:00am

You're preparing an exhibition of work by your former students at Wah Yan College (Kowloon) at City Hall later this year. How do they reflect the spirit of the New Chinese Ink Painting Movement you advocated in the 1960s?

Veteran artist and former Hong Kong Museum of Art chief curator Laurence Tam Chi-sing:

'Looking back, I enjoyed sharing with my students the exciting moments in attempting a new programme of learning and teaching Chinese ink painting in the classroom.

'Following the principle that art education in schools is not for training artists or craftsmen but to provide opportunities for students to express themselves, I encouraged them to learn the application of Chinese brush and ink through a series of experimental exercises that completely deviated from the traditional. This was the essence of the movement.

'In our classes, while students were encouraged to play with their brush freely, their individual characteristics and creative ability were put to the test. The purpose was to let their individuality stand out in their paintings.

'To wield the brush and paint freely is well accepted in today's art scene, but not so 40 years ago. What they did and how they approached Chinese ink painting 30 or 40 years ahead of time isn't known to many.

'The December exhibition will point to a new direction of learning Chinese painting that was practised some 40 years ago and the possibilities in the application of our own national painting media in school art lessons that are currently dominated by western media.'