上一年展覽期間有很多學校來參觀，我們會為學校準備導賞及簡單工作坊，今年有一個展區就是展出上一年來參觀之後做的作品，可惜今年因為某種原因，展覽在暑假期間，所以我們變了另一種形式去做，以看展覽玩遊戲做實驗在展場進行延伸。也與井井三一合作把兒童繪本帶來展區，也帶到Bonnie的親子工作坊裡《故事裏》，用這種形式連結大家及展覽。《DFC創意行動家》與Design For Change(Macau)合作是新的嘗試，針對年紀稍大的小孩，不要以大人主導來參與，並且可以做更多行動及計劃的事，兒童藝術樂團也想小孩慢慢在這裡一直成長。今年繼續與Best Buddies一起辦跳蚤市場，一連兩天把牛房創造成一個更多元素的空間，並且帶出友誼共融，平等關愛的理念。
The 2016 edition of Ox Warehouse Children's Artland, under the same curator, continues the theme and title – Jolly Joint Exhibition – of last year’s. With a children’s exhibition each curatorial effort is like an exploration, an endless project in which we always have to ponder, from the actual experience, how to plan the next. Yet I never feel tired as I treat it as part of my life, a natural thing to do and enjoy, just like any other daily chores.
This year, we also include a one-on-one workshop for children with special needs, although that’s not the highlight. I remember how children appreciated works and played together at the venue in last year’s exhibition opening. They all have their own ways, some laugh, some are hyperactive and others very quiet… Different kids had a happy afternoon here. Continuation is something I really want to do this year or in years to come, as it is the way to further develop this project rather than drawing it to a close after just one try.
We admit that a different exhibition theme and a new set of elements would give visitors a sense of novelity but for the sake of the young participants, we prioritize their growth in creative terms, including development in their work and above all in their inner growth. That said, we hope participants in last year’s workshop can carry on with the course, gathering up here every year around this time in the big family of Ox Warehouse.
Bonnie returns to Macao and this year she spares more time on teaching. The intensive course is a challenge yet she does her job in a calm, elegant manner, as if nothing is weighing on her. She is at ease, probably owing to the earlier preparation, and more trust and openness between us. This case makes me aware that maintaining one’s poise is even more crucial than possessing ability. Creativity is innate, but having self-control, cooperation among team members, mood, communication and organisation are nurtured capacities that take a lifelong learning. On one hand education should teach us how to live and behave collectively, nurturing our language and other social skills. On the other hand, it should remind each student of his/her own nature/original purity, curiosity, and boldness, helping us to tap our potential creativity and abilities in order to fullfil our dreams.
I have considered to include a performance into the Children's Artland, because kids like watching shows. However, in the past few years we had no opportunity to connect a performance with children. This year, I invited Tan Lay Heong from Malaysia — a shadow puppetry artist I’ve met last year — to present a children’s puppet theatre integrating a core, teaching-oriented workshop with an ancillary performance. Lay Heong and her partner Ah Goo stayed three weeks in Macao to work out the plan. They have to direct the children, spark their imagination and passion, guiding them through the whole process, from conceiving the story, making puppets and stage design, until rehearsal as well as exhibition setup. Frankly speaking, if they were adults, I doubt if they could deliver in such a short time. But children are different, especially the youngsters. Unbound by norms and rules of the society, they possess an amazing creativity. As long as we (adults) don’t stand on their way, they can create their work quite rapidly.
This year, the Ji-Ja Art Workshop continues to cooperate with Ox Warehouse. In this exhibition, Vanessa, shows a way of presenting her pupils’ works in a different format: several large size works composed by single lines are simply displayed, contrasting to the fragmentations and colours of her guided creations in 2015. Nevertheless, they still give off a sense of freedom and boldness. In fact, it’s vital for a teacher to adapt, or even grow together with children. To our delight, the visual art course brings a group of little art lovers some happy days. Lam guides the kids with storytelling. Yet, with this approach, the teacher has to incessantly experiment on how to flexibly make use of storytelling, and deepen it, because kids love trying all kinds of curious things, and they can easily change their mind, overturning the conventional, doing it anew to try it out. Last but not the least, a new graduate with a BA, Lego is an innovative tutor breaking away from the conventional. In 2015 and 2016, she has been hosting a children’s drawing course respectively at Júbilo 31 (Children’s Drawing Books Store) and the Artistry of Wind Box Community Development Association, each with an exhibition at the latter venue. Anyone will be marvelled by their whole-hearted dedication upon seeing how she and the little participants draw outdoors and how they set up and prepare the exhibition. Passion is indeed a vital element in life!
I saw on Natalie’s FB page her two pupils’ work, in a photo album entitled The Home Tutor of Art, specially created for children. Natalie teaches the siblings art at their home. They create according to festivals, their works include large ones, either graphic or 3D arts, in free form. Noteworthily, the brother, Ho Kan, creates works so big that they can fill up the entire living room. I was amazed by his creativity as well as the opportunity and encouragement given by his family, which is more important. By pure chance, a FB browsing made me realise the boy’s father is a friend and thus I invited Ho Kan to participate in the exhibition. His participation fullfils my idea of having an independent exhibition area for a child. Apparently it is not difficult for a child to create art, the challenge instead lies in whether or not a family will value and keep the child’s work. In Ho Kan’s case, his family do it perfectly.
In Children's Artland 2015, many schools organised students to visit the exhibition and we offered them guided tours and basic workshops. This year, we set up an area showing works created by students after visiting. This time, however, the exhibition regretfully occurs during the summer holidays and therefore we changed another way, to let the kids visit the exhibition, play games and do experiment.
Moreover, we cooperate with Júbilo 31 to bring children’s drawing books to here, as well as to Bonnie’s parent-child workshop entitled Through Stories. All these are aimed at connecting visitors with the event. And DFC Creative Activists is a new try in collaboration with Design For Change (Macau) targeting older children. This activity excludes adults’ interference, encouraging children to act and plan more, reflecting Children's Artland aim to let children keep growing little by little through this event.
This year we continue to co-organise a flea market with Best Buddies, turning Ox Warehouse into a space with rich elements while bringing out the message of “friendship, integration, equality and caring”.
Cora Si Wun Cheng