今年是我第三年策劃牛房的兒童展,被人問得最多的是,為何我會策劃這個展覽,是教育出身的嗎?如果我答是純粹遇到及緣份,那算答案嗎?著實我想也沒有想過會策劃一個有關兒童的展覽,這不單是為了延續牛房一年一度舉辦的兒童藝術樂園,從中也令我思考更多,回想我走過的教育及童年。

教育真的需要靈活及因材施教,而不是公式化及填鴨,我不喜歡童年,也不喜歡讀書。後來升大才知道有學科是不需讀死書,才感到自己喜歡學習,基礎教育是重要,可怎樣去令學生自己思考,愛上學習,才是成功的教育。是,我記下所有課本去應付考試,可是我只為了考而考,過後全不記得,並且討厭,這是教育嗎?

這個雖然是兒童藝術展,可我也想藉著在這裡說出對現行教育制度的不滿,知道沒有可能改變這個現況,所以,今年從家庭著手,在我身邊的朋友有個別的父母以身教育,不一定是最好的榜樣,可那是特別的例子。Cowrice是一個香港家庭組合,由爸爸劉卓禮Philip,媽媽郭小燕Grace和女兒劉凝映組成的家庭創作單位。開始認識時看他們的Facebook專頁,貼上一幅幅女兒畫的水墨字畫,畫在畫簿,畫在畫紙,畫在不同材料上,父母給女兒做的袋及鞋等等。原本Cowrice劉卓禮及郭小燕組成的創作單位,女兒出世之後就從孩子中看不同的世界或者看看自己,很想透過她的眼睛去看這個世界,記得Philip在FB貼過的話「女兒透過爸爸的人生經驗,學會如何掌握生存技巧。爸爸卻透過女兒的眼睛,明白到經驗如何阻礙人對世界的認知。」這次展覽他們以居住的香港沙田頭邨作主題,嘗試把一家人所幻想到的一一呈現出來。

吳斯翹Billie是香港的貓朋友,她現在有四貓一孩,未生子由之前,她的貓藍藍見報率奇高,並且出版了記錄藍藍的書《穿紅靴的貓》,生了小孩後看見她餵母乳,帶著子由上班的過程,沒有因為小孩的出生而改變自己,沒有了自己,而是分享更多與小孩的生活點滴。香港的教育制度比澳門更糟,並且有統考,統考是把大部份小孩迫到牆角的考試,每間學校都應該有特色,每個小孩都應該不同,統考是制度化的方便,可是沒有人性的考試。對Billie來說學校的教育並不是最重要,反而是家長擴闊自己的眼界,不要讓香港的吃人教育制度,把孩子吃掉。同時也是手作人的Billie這次展覽會以刺繡「命名」為主題,搜集多個名字,然後展示命名的背後意義,希望觀眾,重新重視自己中文名的文化,讓孩子承傳。

我認識的是林大香,後來又識了多一個她叫川井深一,她在人群中很突出,因為身材比較高,因為在澳門說國語。我永遠聽不清她解釋為何改林大香,為何改川井深一的說話,因為她的話快得聽不及。後來她生了一個兒子,而且發佈文章及詩越來越多,當然多了很多有關小孩的話題,藉著孩子的出生父母會有改變,除了身體的變化(年老及肥胖),還對這個世界看法很不一樣,川井深一以放養方式去湊小熊,讓他接觸大自然接觸人群,川井深一也開始關注環境及動物,爸媽看演出看展覽小熊也一起,他們有共同的生活共同的朋友,這次一起把撿來的石頭、鳥窩和蜂窩、松果牛油果樹葉和蟬、小車車等展出,造一個好玩的展覽。

和小朵真的認識是去年的兒童展,可我們其實是同屆不同班平面設計同學,而且我很喜歡她的畢業作品《市井美學》,她是那種隨性又大膽嘗試的人,多了女兒後就母性大發,開始關心世界關心社會,關心其他小孩。本來她也是以家庭為出發點去做展覽,可後來改變主意,她現在於《澳門至友協會》工作,聯系特殊人士及普通人作朋友,這次帶領《澳門唐心兒協會》的小朋友畫畫,他們如一般人可以作畫,甚至更投入更獷野,能發揮得更極致。那些小孩完全保留人的純粹,性情直接,純真的態度,大家沒有分別,分別是你的心胸。

牛房倉庫有固定的兒童藝術班,每年都參與兒童展,今年想作一些轉變,不單是展出小孩的作品,而是小孩與大人互動的作品,我一直強調每個人都應該做自己的東西,可是這次展覽反而是要大人照著小孩的畫來再創作,當然大人們也是用自己善長的媒體/材料去做,還是有很大成份自己的創作。小孩的創作力比大人豐富,因為他們沒有世俗的障礙,大人因為想得太多,而令幻想力越來越少,可是小孩如果成長中沒有得到指導及鼓勵,往往大一點就已經放棄畫畫,所以,不能將原本的創作力轉化成有思想、延續及系列作品。

我希望家長、老師及大人們從小孩中看到我們也曾經擁有的東西,不要忘記初衷,世界本來就很單純及簡單,我們為何要做成那麼繁雜?郝元春做的《跟著小人兒做玩偶》就是照著小孩的圖來做布公仔,元春一直都以手作做動物公仔,這次因為跟著小孩而更大膽的放下從前認知的比列、色彩及形態觀念,並且在展覽前開班及指導大人們做玩偶,她也兼顧策展助理的角色,這三個月間在牛房出出入入無數次,藝術家做展覽已經不單純是做作品,對於如何展示,控制成本及與觀眾的互動性都要去想,那接近一百隻的玩偶有大有小,可以看可以抱可以玩,藝術也不是只眼看手勿動,藝術是與人很親近,完全沒有界限的東西。

余韶湘是與我相識二十年的中學好朋友,已有一子的她,由美術老師轉職做蛋糕師傅,也兼顧教畫畫。兒童展就應該是一個可以看可以玩的地方,我們在展場最後安排了一個遊戲、休閒及工作坊等多功能區域,小孩其實不需要什麼玩具,有一個地方,可以跑可以跳可以看書可以畫畫就足夠了,阿湘設計了一個可爬可滑的滑梯,配合元春做的大坐墊,加幾個彈彈氣球,有枱有椅可坐下的地方。她也參照小孩的畫做不倒翁公仔,可摸一摸推一推,可記住要輕力一點,不然她會痛。

阿堅奴善長素描,而且是畫得比真實更真的畫,但他一見到小孩畫的單線條畫就說已決定怎樣去創作,他也會做木工等手工藝,所以,決定用粗鋼線去勾畫線條,並且放到比原大大幾十倍。兒童藝術班的導師林月娥剛好也有同樣概念,可她是以鐵絲小小的一個個放在兒童室裡。將事物繁雜化及強制整齊是大人的把戲,小孩就天生知道怎樣幾筆去畫好一個圖案,可是藝術家都要用一生去學像小孩一樣畫畫。究竟我們大人每天營營役役工作,然後賺來的金錢花在居所、物質及豪華旅行中,到頭來我們知道自己真正想要的是什麼嗎?

一進入展場,我原意是幾位創作人營造一個統一的感覺,或許這會被楊冠瑩打破,我對她講出展覽的概念後,做兒童班導師助手的她,想到其中小孩對摺畫感興趣,就想到要做一個萬花筒,從萬花筒觀看到一個色彩繽紛及奇異的世界,她是會不斷變想法,不斷試新東西的人,我們這裡就缺乏這種人,誰說統一一定好?牛房本來是一個大倉,展覽時會間牆壁,是循環再用的木板,上次《塗鴉.迷宮》全都是直接在牆上畫畫,用這些板再間房時竟然很配合這次展覽的氣氛,其中兩間房的牆壁及走廊就保留了作品。我是大人,我還是有世俗的固執,可是我樂意被打破。

施援程
策展人

 

前  言

Preface 

This is my third curatorial try at the children’s exhibition, an annual event at the Ox Warehouse. Many people asked, “Why do you curate it? Because you have been a teacher before? ” Well, if I replied, “Just because the chance arose”, does it sound? 

In fact, I never thought I would curate an exhibition by and for children, but this curatorship, besides helping to extend the annual Children’s Art Playground programme, has prompted me into profound reflection as I looked back at my own schooling and childhood experiences. 

 

We should teach students in accordance with their aptitudes, with flexibility, rather than formulaic and spoon-fed schooling. I didn’t enjoy my childhood, and I didn’t enjoy schooling. Only in university I realized there are subjects requiring no memorizing at all and only then did I enjoy studying. Elementary education is important, and only an education system stimulating students’ thinking and imagination, coaching them to enjoy learning can be considered successful. As a student, I memorized textbooks only to pass exams, then forgetting everything, and I hated it. Shall we call this education? 

 

I used this children’s art exhibition featuring creative families to vent my discontent with the current education system. Knowing well that it’s difficult to change the situation, I just tried to showcase a few special examples by my friends﹣though not really the best examples﹣of families where the parents are teaching/influencing their child through personal example, in everyday interactions. 

 

We have Cowrice, a creative family from Hong Kong, formed by Philip Lau, the father, Grace Kwok, the mother, and Ying Ying, the daughter. I got to know them better through their Facebook pages showing calligraphy and ink paintings by Ying Ying, on sketchbook, on paper or on different media, besides bags and shoes the parents made for her. Originally, Cowrice was a two-member group, consisted of Philip and Grace; the arrival of Ying Ying has changed the way the couple see the world, as well themselves, urging them to look at it through her innocent eyes. “My daughter learns survival skills from her dad’s life experience, and dad comes to realize, through her eyes, how experience stands in the way when we try to perceive the world”, said Philip in a FB post. In this exhibition, the family tries to reveal all their fantasies about their abode in Sha Tin, Hong Kong.

 

Billie Ng is my friend from Hong Kong and also a cat lover. She has four cats and a child. Before having the son, her cat Blue gained great exposure on the media, and she even published a book dedicated to him, entitled The Cat in Red Boots. With her new baby, I saw she breast-feeding him, bringing him to work﹣without any major changes in her life. Instead, with a toddler around she tries to share more moments with friends. It’s worth mentioning that Hong Kong has an education system even worse than Macao’s, including regional standard examinations at Form 5 that drive most youngsters mad. Every school should have its own characteristics, and every child is different. Standard examinations are inhuman, just a convenience of the system. That said, for Billie, schooling is not the most important; what matters is, parents should broaden their vision, in order not to let Hong Kong’s cannibalistic education system devour their children. 

 

For this exhibition, Billie, who’s also a handicrafter, presents an embroidery work dealing with “Name Giving”. She illustrates the meaning behind a selection of Chinese given names, hoping to spur visitors to revisit the Chinese name giving tradition and pass it on.

 

Now let’s look at Daxiang Lin. At first I knew her as Lin Hsiang Chun, then she became Lin Hsiang Chun. Lin stands out in a crowd, for her unusual height and because she speaks Mandarin. I could never catch her explanation as to why she called herself Daxiang Lin or Lin Hsiang Chun﹣she speaks damn fast! After giving birth to a son, she published more articles and poems, many of which obviously themed on children.  A child’s arrival always brings changes to parents, physically (such as ageing and putting on weight) and mentally (sparking different worldviews). Lin raises her son Bear in a sort of a free-range way, exposing him to nature as well as to people. On the other hand, Bear inspired her to care for the environment and animals. And she and her husband also bring along Bear to visit exhibitions. The family shares the life, interacting with their common friends. For the exhibition, they showcase some collected items, including stones, bird’s nests, and beehives, as well as pine nuts, avocado, leaves, alongside cicadas and toy cars, creating a fun show.

 

My first real personal contact with Dora Lou was at last year’s children’s exhibition despite that we were actually studying in the same graphic design department, and that I liked her graduation work Worldly Aesthetics. Dora is carefree, and bold in her tryings. Her new baby girl makes her more motherly, and she started caring more about the world, the community and other children. At first she wanted to contribute to the exhibition with her family. But then she changed her mind: working at the Best Buddies Macao Association, with the duty to establish friendship between the mentally disabled and Macao community, she opted to lead the little Best Buddies paint, producing nice works. These children paint like others, and indulge in their wild imagination, playing to full creativity. They show the original, sheer human purity in them, demonstrating their candideness and innocence. In a word, there’s no difference between them and us; the only difference is whether the heart is empty or not. 

 

Ox Warehouse offers regular children’s art courses, and organizes an annual exhibition by and for children. This year we made some changes, by exhibiting works by children, as well as interactive works between them and adults. Contrary to my belief that every individual should create by him/herself, the event asks adults to re-create children’s drawing with the media they are good at. Unlike adults whose imagination is curtailed by senses/rationality, kids are more creative, their world being freer. However, if children are not guided and encouraged properly during their early development, they tend to give up painting therefore being unable to turn the original creativity into a thoughtful series of work. 

 

I hope parents, teachers and all other adults can perceive, through children, the ability we were born with. The world in itself is pure, simple. Why make it complex? The Parent-child Workshop on Puppet Making Inspired by Children’s Drawing, hosted by Yolanda Kog, teaches participants to make puppets based on children’s drawing. Yolanda has been hand-making animal puppets for a while but this time follows the children’s lead and puts aside previously mastered concepts like proportion, colours and shapes, designing the course to guide adults in puppet making prior to the exhibition opening. She also assisted the curator, keeping herself busy at Ox Warehouse for three months, since curating is not only about creating, but also controlling costs and encouraging interaction with visitors, which means to consider many more things besides pure creative efforts. Now we all can cuddle or play with nearly 100 puppets of different sizes, demonstrating that art is not just for watching but also for touching, as art is intimate to man, and indeed there’s no boundary at all between people and art. 

 

U Sio Seong, a schoolmate from middle school, has been my friend for two decades. A former art teacher, with a son, she later switched to be a pastry chef while teaching painting part-time. Thinking that a children’s exhibition should be a venue for visiting and fun, we designed a multifunctional area for play, leisure and hosting workshops, as kids do not really need toys, but rather a playground to run, jump, read and paint. Seong also designed a slide, on which little ones can slide or climb, with big cushions made by Yolanda, tables and chairs around, functioning as a resting are. She also her displays roly-poly dolls inspired by children’s drawing. Please be reminded to embrace the dolls lightly, so as not to cause them pain.  

 

Aquino da Silva excels at sketching and his painting is more real than life but upon seeing children’s simple strokes, he decided on his creative approach (for this exhibition). Being also an apt carpenter, he opted to render the outlines with thick steel wires, enlarging them considerably for display. 

 

Lam Ut Ngo, instructor of children’s art course, shares the same concept but with a twist: she places small installations made from iron wires around the children’s room. Complexity and forcible orderliness is an adult’s game, whereas children have the innate ability to accomplish a drawing with a few strokes. However, in art, the essential is, as Picasso once said, “It took me a lifetime to paint like a child”. As grownups, we work hard to earn money, then squander it on housing, material enjoyment, or luxury travel. Yet, at the end of the day, do we truly know what we really want? 

 

The exhibition venue, originally planned to give a harmonious, uniform atmosphere by showing artworks in similar moods, now looks not so harmoniou after Summer Ieong Kun Ieng’s interference. Upon knowing the exhibition concept, Summer, as children’s art teacher and inspired by the intense interest her pupils showed in paper folding, had the idea of producing a kaleidoscope through which viewers can see a colourful, wondrous world. She likes to come up with new ideas and try new things. This kind of person is very much needed here. Who says uniformity is good? The Ox Warehouse exhibition hall, a big open space, is usually separated by recyclable wood panels during exhibitions. But the previous exhibition featured graffiti directly drawn on the walls, without any panels. This time, we re-used them to divide the space into different ‘rooms’, and the result is a venue with great ambience quite matching this exhibition, with two rooms keeping the graffiti works on the walls and corridor. In conclusion, I’m a grownup with stubborn worldly concerns, but I’m glad to be able to do something different in this exhibition.

 

Curator

Cora Si Wun Cheng

2014 牛房兒童藝術樂園
Ox Warehouse Children’s Artland 2014

 

跟著小人兒看世界

See The World through a Child’s Eyes

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