Fox Daniels: Of superwomen and spirituality

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 3:12am

Damina Gallery is hosting a solo exhibition of new works by Belgian-Moroccan artist Fox Daniels that depict powerful Hong Kong women: socialites, celebrities and tycoon's wives.

The gallery held a cocktail party to celebrate the opening on Thursday at Kee Club in Central. At intervals throughout the party, dancers, their faces painted to emulate Daniels' paintings, did a turn on the floor.

The canvases are, to put it mildly, tongue-in-cheek: an ageing woman in a glamorous evening gown ruefully watches a clock with her pet cat; a socialite stares hungrily at a pair of shoes through a shop window. Daniels doesn't shy away from poking fun at expats, either. One of the crowd's favourites depicts two expat wives eyeing the helpers tending to their babies.

Each of her paintings includes the motif of a golden circle. "To me, it represents the circle of eternal happiness," Daniels said. "Eternal happiness can be found through large pieces of jewellery and it can also be found spiritually. Often, the women I paint have one eye closed to keep one eye on what they have achieved spiritually."

Daniels often paints portraits based on powerful women in Asia. The label on one painting, Gigi, cryptically explained it was based on a Hong Kong celebrity but didn't reveal her name. Daniels let us in on the secret: "Gigi Chao. [Whose father placed a HK$500 million marriage bounty on her head last year.] I realised there is another layer of this world: women who are not heterosexual. She isn't bothered what the outside world thinks."