HAPPENINGS: First Initiative Foundation's annual gala dinner coincided with the opening of Le French May's "Claude Monet: The Spirit of Place" exhibition, which took place at Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin. The foundation, established and chaired by Michelle Ong, has taken many initiatives to promote art education in Hong Kong.

To complement the Monet exhibition, the foundation published two children's books. More than 300 VIP guests including Pansy Ho, Eric Berti and Eason Chan enjoyed a preview of the exhibition before arriving for the gala dinner prepared by French fine-dining restaurant ÉPURE. The art-inspired menu includes a mesmerising dessert resembling a painter's palette made of chocolate.

OVERHEARD Kenny Bee’s daughters are better dressed than I am.


CHIC CHAT with Michelle Ong

Can you tell us how the My Monet and Colour Me Monet books came about?

When I heard about Le French May's Monet exhibition, I immediately knew I wanted to do something educational and entertaining for young exhibition visitors, and to extend the viewing and art experience to the community at large. I also felt it's essential to support children's love of reading and books.

What are some of your favourite things about the books?

I love the originality, the charm and the educational content.

How do you think children can benefit from art education?

Art is a must. Art education encourages children to love beauty, think creatively, express themselves and appreciate the expressions of others.

What's your favourite Monet painting and why?

My favourites are his water lily paintings. They are beautiful but, to me, they also represent the essence of his art and his life.