Jewellery designer impresses Muscovites at fine-arts fair

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 July, 2008, 12:00am

While the world looks east towards China, Wallace Chan Sai-ying has been looking to eastern Europe. The Fujian-born Hong Kong jewellery designer was invited to display at the fifth Moscow World Fine Art Fair in late May and early last month. It's one of the most prestigious fine art events in Russia, held in a fabulous building next to the Kremlin and Red Square. Some of the works from his Russian exhibition, the 'Symbolism of Nature', were shown on Friday at the China Club for a select audience of media and guests. Recalling the trip, Chan, in his usual red frames and long beard, suggested he surprised many Muscovites.

'I could read from their expressions as if they were asking: 'How come there is a Chinese here?',' he said with a smile. Many visitors were also curious about his unique designs combining such unconventional materials as titanium with diamonds, gold, rubies, pearls, coral, zitan wood and sapphires. So impressed were organisers that they plan to use one of his works on the cover of the fair's brochure next year. 'It's a great way to show the world Chinese jewellers can produce world-class pieces.'

The designer/sculptor seriously turned to Buddhism in 1996, which made us wonder if his spiritual approach to life now conflicts with his material career? 'My religion actually allows me to go beyond the limit of the material itself. When I create, I forget it's a material. To me, it's a tool to capture a much deeper spiritual concept through my journey of researching and studying.' That's what you might call Buddha bling.