Lionel Smit ‘CONTRONYM’

South African artist Lionel Smit will be exhibiting at Cat Street Gallery opening today till 8 November. Tagged as one of the young investment artists, Smit is best known for his contemporary portraits done in monumental canvases and sculptures. His work tonight explores duality in identities with mirrored portraiture pulled in opposite directions on canvas, sculpture and silkscreen.

Curator’s talk will begin at 6pm today followed by cocktails till 9pm.

Cat Street Gallery is located at 222 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan.

Strip it down to black

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Yesterday it hit me during my mid-term presentations that I was doing an all black collection. I must say, I love colour a lot. I can get a rush from seeing colour and for my 21st birthday present, I requested my mom to get me the pantone set which till today, is one of my most valuable gifts.

Then this quarter, I decided to try stripping down my strength in colour to doing an all black collection. A main reason for that is the nature of the collection. We were required to chose an ethnic group and match it with a sport. I eventually chose to do fishing and… blind people. I have interacted with the blind on a personal level and believe me, they are an ethnic group themselves! Although they do not have a specific geographic location, they have their own culture and language (braille).

Doing this collection exposed many of my flaws. It made me very stressed too, having to think about merging functionality with fashion. Most of the times, these two don’t meet very well. Fashion is usually seen as a form or something frivolous like decoration with no meaning while function serves a purpose. By choosing to look at fishing gear, doing a menswear collection and creating clothes for the blind, I got myself trapped in creating functional clothing which to be frank, looked absolutely like a robber’s get up in the night when it’s all black.

Moving forward, I have started to create some textures and prints in braille which I am excited to show you soon! This would keep the collection from looking like a robber’s wardrobe 🙂

Plastic is the new porcelain

This project was created during the 3D class for an eco-art exhibition in collaboration with HSBC Hong Kong. The art work created is now stored in the HSBC Permanent Art collection along with other famous renown artists.

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Having grown up in an Asian society, I have always been in love with the mystic of the imperial dynasties and the long history of the Chinese culture. Looking towards the imperial treasures as an inspiration, I quickly noticed the fine art of porcelain.

First founded in China, porcelain was once a common choice for utensils, houseware and even imperial treasures. The craft of moulding and firing porcelain was considered such a fine art that some kilns would only produce for the imperial family. However in this modern day, old traditions like this have started to disappear, especially with the prevalent use of plastic in all types of houseware including disposable ware.

Bringing the disappearing craft back into the present, I took recycled plastic bottles and coated them in leftover wax to resemble the Chinese Ming vases. Coloured in white, these bottles mimic white porcelain, which was created during the Tang Dynasty and was considered to be the best quality. White also represents the illusion many of us have today. Much like how the bottle is coated in wax, but is truly plastic underneath, many consumers are under the illusion that our world is doing well, not knowing the state that we are actually in.

Some bottles have been painted over and carved with coloured wax while others have printed rice paper coated under. The scenes depicted on the bottles are classic Chinese landscapes usually found on ceramics or in Chinese paintings. By making these bottles look like modern day Ming vases, I aim to not only elevate the status of cast of materials into an imperial ornament but to also make viewers realize the widespread usage of plastic in our society today. Isn’t plastic the new porcelain?

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Carven FW2014/2015

This is my first design project in SCAD Hong Kong, created for Carven Paris. The following includes the full portfolio pages from mood board, fabric board, development pages, line up and final illustrations.

For this project, I chose to work with the theme of fragility, the feeling of being exposed and broken. FASH110_1

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Reaching In

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Reaching In, 2013
This piece revolves around the artist’s memories of Chinese herbs. In traditional Chinese medicine, the ‘sinseh’ (doctor) would diagnose the patient’s problems by feeling his pulse. This would use a combination of fingers placed at different locations on the wrist.

The piece here depicts the artist’s hands being felt by the doctor. Personally for the artist, TCM has been part of her family’s lifestyle because her great grandfather was a ‘sinseh’. This tradition of using Chinese herbs, rather than western medication, to cure one’s illnesses has been passed down three generations till today. However, the artist has noticed a decline in TCM in this generation. Many have turned to western medication. This decline makes TCM even more precious a memory.

The top half of the image represents history for the artist. This comprises of Chinese calligraphic writings and herbs. The Chinese writings were traced from the 黄帝内经 which was a journal of discoveries made in Chinese Medicine during the reign of the Emperor of China. Some of these words are traced perfectly, while some others are not- signifying history being lost over generations. For the artist, the act of retracing history was an experience of relearning Chinese and its calligraphy techniques, deemed as one of the important skills one should have then.

The herbs that fly out of the artist’s hands into the sky include chrysanthemum flowers and wolfberries. These are the two most common herbs the artist currently takes. The herbs float away with the wind as if history has been lost. The hand reaches out to grab it desperately. In doing so, the artist depicts her want to know this lost history of hers. The feeling of losing this part of her identity is summed up in the bolded Chinese words on the left of her hand “心烦心痛” which means heart ache, heart pain.

Thus, instead of reaching out, the hand is really reaching into her past and her heart.

 Bed of herbs, 2013

 

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Bed of herbs, 2013
Chinese herbs arranged like a pillow which the hand rests on during a consultation with the TCM doctor. Can this comfortable pillow of herbs cure your heartaches?

The Weeping Widow

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The Weeping Widow, 2013

This artwork stems from personal experience. In the frame, an Asian girl is pictured weeping. She weeps because of pain and trials she is going through. This is further echoed with the Chinese saying (玉不琢不成器人不学不知理 ) on the right of her face which means ʻa gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trialsʼ in English.
Her pain is likened to a crown of thorns she dons on her head. However through the pain, she holds on to two ideals, faith and hope, to get her through. The pain she goes through polishes her as if she attains jewels with every second she endures and is added to her crown. “Weʼre stronger together” is contrasted with a pair of lips being signaled to stay silent at the bottom left hand corner. This symbolises the naysayers who are unwilling to listen to those in pain and believe that they should suffer it alone. For that reason, the piece was called “The Weeping Widow” because the girl feels like all her loved ones have left her. The worlds “Weʼre stronger together” instead reflects the personal view that in pain, we should share our sorrow in order to build each other up. This quote was taken from a breast cancer book which reminds the artistʼs of her motherʼs experience with breast cancer and the impact on her life.
In a typical sorrowful picture, the colour palette would be gloomy and dark. However, the faith and hope here inspires her to look on the bright side of life and stay positive.