Ashley pictures Olympic glory

Mabel Sieh

Artist's acclaimed artwork will be shown at the London Games

Mabel Sieh |

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Ashley Chung''s award-winning, Olympic-themed artwork has been selected to be exhibited at the London Games.
Ashley Chung Hoi-lam loves to draw. She started scribbling as a one-year-old and has been taking drawing lessons since the age of four.

"I love drawing because it allows me to be creative," says Ashley, 15, a student at GT (Ellen Yeung) College.

"To produce something from scratch on a blank piece of paper is amazing. It makes me feel really good."

Ashley's artistic passion - and 11 years of continuous practice - have helped her to earn her many awards. Her latest works have won the Best Young Artist Award at this year's Small Montmartre of Bitola international children's art competition.

This year - the 31st year of the prestigious contest run in Macedonia - featured an Olympics theme and attracted more than 20,000 entries from around the world.

Three of Ashley's works - together with those by four other local students - have been chosen to be exhibited in London during the Olympic Games, which start on July 27.

"After the first round of competition, we were selected to go to the city of Bitola, in Macedonia, in May," says Ashley. "Within seven days, we had to draw outdoors on the street, and do as many pieces as possible - from 7am till 7pm every day."

Rain or shine, Ashley kept painting and drawing - and produced 11 pieces of art.

"It's a challenge to paint so many so quickly. But I enjoyed it," she says. "I like the city a lot. There are so many old buildings. The streets are historical and the people very nice."

She received a warm welcome from residents when it poured with rain one day as she sheltered in the entrance of a shop to continue painting; she noticed the shopkeeper watched her the whole time she worked.

"When I finished after six hours, he came out and said, 'Bravo!'. Then he handed me a heart-shaped necklace; I was very touched. The citizens have a great respect for artists and painters."

Her winning creations feature a black-and-white sketch of Bitola's government building, another of athletes playing drums as a white dove swoops in the sky, and a colourful painting of athletes set against a backdrop of London and the British flag.

Kosta Hadzi Antonovski, head of the Saints Cyril and Methodius Children's Art Studio, in Bitola, who founded the competition, said he was impressed by the Hong Kong students's works - particularly those by Ashley.

"The judges really liked the colour tone of her black-and-white pieces - and I will publish them in my coming art book."

Despite her success, Ashley remains level-headed and wants to keep improving.

"A competition is only a competition. I didn't think about winning; I just tried my best and put all my feelings in my work. When I draw someone smiling, I have to smile, too. I'll keep studying other people's work and learn from them."

The other students with artwork exhibited at the London Olympics are Chiu Man-yan, 13, of St Paul's Co-educational College; Grace Tsang Tsz-yan, 16, of Renaissance College; and Tiffany Law How-tung, 17, and Phoebe Chong Tsz-yin, 18, both of St Paul's School (Lam Tin).

Their work will be on display at East Point City, Hang Hau, until July 19.

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