上一年參加澳門區DFC（Design for change）頒獎禮，看見了倒立先生(黄明正）的表演及演講被感動了，向著夢想努力的實現，以雜技賣藝把這個夢傳開，人傳人互相的影響著，夢從來都沒有完，只是實現的開始，我們要勇敢的面對自己，誠實的生活。一出生我們就能哭能吃奶，大一點可以手舞足蹈、拱橋及倒立……再大一點就能牙牙語，手拿筆自然能畫能貼，這些我們不需要教，是隨著身體的成長自然會懂的事，為何大了變得都不會了？倒立先生自小就發現自己能翻滾及倒立，18歲畢業後當過業務員，再考進台北藝術大學戲劇系，27歲那年他決定不要辜負心中那個始終佇立，不曾離開的小男孩，沒有舞台，可以到街上表演，以及到全世界自拍倒立。
In an exhibition, we tend to be conditioned by the theme and to defy this, originally I did not intend to give this exhibition a title. When invited artists asked me about the theme, I would only gave them a hint, thinking that it would be best if everybody could just do whatever he/she likes. However, at last a title must be found and it turned out to be "We Were Born This Way", as a result from a conversation and exchange I had with Veronique Wong. My good friends then said, “Isn’t that your pet phrase?”
Indeed we don’t have to define ourselves and just as a kid with a pure heart and without any motive, we can do whatever we like. In my recollections of childhood into adulthood, what impresses me most is art and craft. I am not sure if others love it as I do, because I really enjoyed the whole process of making handicrafts and would finish it wholeheartedly. While we are growing up, one may have too many doubts and very few answers. Being a girl slow in refuting, I had no choice but to become a common student who never voiced out.
Last year in the Macao DFC (Design for Change) award ceremony, I was moved by the performance and speech by Ming Cheng Huang, aka ‘Mr. Candle’, a Taiwanese circus/acrobatic artist and dancer. He started to pursue and try to realize his dream, travelling across Taiwan doing handstands and circus treats as a busker, to share his dream as well as the persevering spirit. The dream lives on, as it starts to be realized. We have to face our true self bravely, and live honestly. Think about these: when we were born, we already know how to cry and suck milk; as we grow a bit, we can fling our arms, dance, make back arch, do handstands; and more older, we start to babble, hold pens and draw and make collage naturally. Nobody teaches us and we just can do all these out of instinct as we grow up. Why have we lost such abilities when we step into adulthood? Mr. Candle discovered his own ability while doing rolls and handstands at a very young age. He became a salesperson at 18 upon completing high school, before he was admitted to the Department of Theatre Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts. At 27 he decided that he should not forsake the little boy who has been always standing, lingering in his mind, and that he could perform in the street, his ever present stage, taking photos of himself doing handstands in special spots across the world.
I first saw Sandy Leong Sin U’s work on 2/F, Ox Warehouse. It’s the impromptu -painting that she drew with a pencil right on the spot, depicting a bedtime story. Her work was subtle, filled with girlish fantasies. Sandy loves writing and drawing. After the exhibition, she published a picture book Macao Story: Mong-ha 1849, combining childhood memories, Macao themes and carrousel in a tale. In this exhibition, she used the diary format, a more intimate approach, to fuse text and images. The resulting works are sensitive, full of sentimentality, living in her own world and yet refreshingly surprising. I can always see a bit of myself in her works, though there’s difference (between me and her protagonists).
I got to know Chi Vai Un on Facebook, where friends would often ‘like’ or share his illustrations, which he presented in humorous or sarcastic ways. Some can trigger a smile, a few are thought-provoking and others are inspiring. Later on he made them into postcards and launched the ‘Bingo’ Warm Up Our City activity, in an attempt to pass direct messages to people. This time his Stubborn and Unreasonable series featured here fully reveals children’s inner voices. Upon becoming an adult, Chi Vai wishes to tear down his grown-up mask and show his childlike bravery. How about you?
Ieong Kun Ieng, aka Summer, is a quiet, slender lovely girl. I first knew her when she was a part-timer at Ox Warehouse. In fact I didn’t know what she was creating, but I was very interested in the things she shared on Facebook; I could often see her subjects as weird pictures, dealing on gender, equality, justice and animal rights, which made me wonder why, as a girl in her 20s she does not follow the usual trend of interests like love, entertainment, studies, shopping and leisure/play, but rather reveals her own ideas (towards more serious subjects). Is it because she has lived briefly in a closed environment? Or, it is because, like everybody else, Summer has a private corner for herself in her heart, and she is just trying to convey through text and image the inner workings in this intimate realm before it is shattered by the wheel (of time), transforming them into an animation, as a token of her beautiful life.
As if not at all affected by adulthood, Molly Heng Cheang’s computer-generated images show an innocent, free charm in an easygoing mood. Overlapping colors, drawn in singular stroke – some with plenty of lines showing a doodling block and others scarce, conveying emptiness. You may read her painting as being an adult emulation of children’s style. However, I feel that she draws from her childlike heart, with the brushwork and theme both illustrating her truest inner. Computer is now a tool used mainly by adults, but perhaps in the very near future 3-year old toddlers will draw with touch screen. Our creativity won’t be constrained by media. But Heng also does hand-painting and 3D arts besides animation.
There’s a little angel living in our heart, hiding inside and only coming out occasionally. It’s mostly absent because of our unwillingness to see it. And yet when we become depressed and despondent to the extreme, the angel would appear in a flash; and if you don’t get hold of it, it would vanish again, because happiness comes from perseverance. When Ernest Van Pou Lon introduced me to NANA, I immediately felt “she” is this little angel. Pou Lon not only painted in blue the marching NANA on white tile, but also distributed her in streets, pass her on to many friends, thus spreading the positive message with NANA walking and singing alongside.
Usually with richer experiences, one will grow more matured, self-composed, prudent and sophisticated. But Veronique Wong may be an exception to this rule. Besides, she tries hard every day just to get back her innocence. The reason is that she is not only a children’s art educator, but also aspires to get to the heart of childlikeness, for (she believes) only when we are free in all senses and go back to the original-way-when-we-were-born, can we feel in a child’s way. Veronique has the least need to make creations for exhibition, as her teaching practices are all her works. In a sense, every day for her is a practice, tangible and intangible. However, do you understand?
Children are versatile, and flexible as cotton. I did not intend to set any limitations on the teaching. As such, we can’t distinguish the result of free teaching as being good or bad. The class taught by Dora Lou started with dots, from small sheets to big canvas. The children used pens, hands, feet to produce drawing composed of small or big dots. That’s an experiment on primitiveness, an exercise prompting the kids to explore free painting. Here, who can tell the difference between children and adults? From the beginning, Veronique did not set any theme for her art class pupils. Yet in just several sessions what results can we expect to see? But results are not important. The crux of the matter is: do kids really like painting and can them continue to draw every day, in a concentrated and merry manner, just as they were doing in the lessons? Lam, instructor for Ox Warehouse children’s art workshop, reveals that, we don’t require that our children draw to mimic the appearance of objects or paint meticulously. But as they grow, their interest in painting is overtaken by other concerns. Yet when these kids grow into adults, they may miss the free from drawing experience.
However, how many people would think that ‘the childlike me is my true self’?
Cora Si Wun Cheng