Paintings of Kwok Woon show an optimistic life

Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Issue 301, Page 6
Word count: 584
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The exhibition, “Midnight Rainbow”, which showcases painter Kwok Woon’s artwork produced before he passed away in 2003, was opened exclusively at Albergue da Santa Casa da Misericordia de Macau yesterday and will run until April 20.

The exhibit also included works that were drawn by Mr Kwok’s left hand after multiple attempts at surgeries left the right part of his body paralysed.

Organised by Casa de Portugal em Macau and in collaboration with Bambu Sociedade de Artes, about 50 paintings and drawings made before Mr Kwok lost his life from nasopharyngeal cancer in November 2003 were exhibited with the support of his wife at the gallery located in Calcada da lgreja de S. Lazaro 8.

According to Casa de Portugal, the exposition “reminds us of a painter that adopted Macau as a breath of inspiration and Macau adopted the artist and gave Kwok Woon’s art and culture the opportunity to flourish”.

“Kwok Woon, with his zeal for life, has left us too soon. He has left us longing. He left us his artistic works scattered about, in public and private places, throughout the world, for our delight and contemplation,” the catalogue produced by Casa de Portugal em Macau reads.

“This exposition is surely a gift to art, like a sanctuary for the soul and a clear vision on a sojourn, along paths evident in his struggle for life, through the artist’s mind. Before he left us, he showed, with an open and free hand, that to create was to breathe,” the prologue continues.

Since the cancer was discovered in 1999, the artist’s wife, Joana Ling, told the Macau Daily Times that he never gave up and always wanted to draw even by his left hand which he was never used to.

“Five months before my husband passed away, he still had lots of hopes for his life and people around him knew he had such a strong spirit,” Ms Ling said.

“Although he was always right-handed, he still produced a lot of works using his left hand whenever he had time such as when waiting to see the doctor in the hospital and at home,” she added.

In the pile of notes written by the artist before the surgery in July 2002, he said: “Don’t be afraid of loneliness. Try to embrace it and enjoy it … To know how to enjoy staying alone is the art of life and the highest state of your being”, “in fact, I’m still lucky and rich.”

Every time when Mr Kwok was discharged from the hospital, Ms Ling said the first thing he insisted to do, even though he was in wheelchairs, was to see his studio on the fourth floor at home.

“Painting was part of his life. He couldn’t spend one single day without painting,” she said.

During late of his life, Ms Ling told the MDT that Mr Kwok was advised by doctor to change his usual painting material from mixed media to ink because “the scent generated from the pigments could seriously worsen his health”.

The exhibition was the second one held after Mr Kwok left the world in 2003.

Ms Ling thanked all of his friends’ support for making the event possible, adding Mr Kwok concerned his friends so much that he used to say “friends are his blood”.

A flower arrangement demonstration was held as part of the opening event yesterday to commemorate the artist who loved flowers so much.

The exhibition will be open for the public until April 20.

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