Calligraphic painting fetches half of total contribution Art is food for the soul, but it has acquired fresh meaning for Operation Santa Claus after developer Sino Group raised HK$200,000 with help from its pioneering art exhibition. Half of the HK$200,000 was a direct donation by Sino Group and the rest was generated through the Art in Hong Kong exhibition, which ended on January 2 at Central Plaza. The exhibition auctioned off a calligraphic painting, A Motto by Mother Teresa, by ophthalmologist-artist-philanthropist Dominic Lam Man-kit. The highest bid was HK$100,000. Dr Lam, a former Harvard professor, invented the painting process called 'chromoskedasic painting' or 'nano art' in 1980, which creates colour images using only materials for black and white photography. Operation Santa Claus, in its 21st year, is co-sponsored by the South China Morning Post and RTHK. It is benefiting 13 charities this year plus the SCMP Homes for Hope Project, which is raising funds for Sichuan earthquake victims. Art in Hong Kong - which aims to bring art into the daily lives of Hongkongers - has organised more than 50 art exhibitions and activities at various Sino Group properties. Besides providing free venues to host art events, it offers one-stop exhibition support ranging from curating to art education. Sino Land executive director Daryl Ng Win-kong said he counted the 2007 award for arts sponsorship that Art in Hong Kong received from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council as an 'important milestone'. '[The award] affirms the feasibility of synergy between the commercial sector and the arts, and encourages the group to expand the programme to a broader and deeper level,' said Mr Ng, the 30-year-old son of Sino Land chairman Robert Ng Chee-siong. Sino Group began to support Operation Santa Claus through Art in Hong Kong in 2005. 'Sino Group has been a dedicated supporter of the annual charity drive because Operation Santa Claus helps numerous beneficiaries,' Mr Ng said. 'By tying Operation Santa Claus into our Art in Hong Kong exhibitions, we hope to provide a platform for potential buyers to support local artists while contributing to the campaign for good causes. 'As Operation Santa Claus will be jointly promoted with our exhibition, it also enhances the awareness of the campaign to a wider audience.' Mr Ng said he hoped Operation Santa Claus would continue to bring good cheer to the underprivileged, especially as the Lunar New Year drew near. 'The Lunar New Year is an important festival for Hong Kong people. It also symbolises a good start of the year so we wish to send our warmest blessings and happiness to those in need,' he said. 'The group places significant importance on upholding good corporate citizenship.' The group will host Operation Santa Claus' closing ceremony at The Apex in Central Plaza on January 20.