My sister’s memory of mum

Our mother left us this family altarpiece which we have continue to use after her death. Her tablet inscribed on a brass plate sits on the far left. The Goddess of Mercy sits in the middle. Food offerings and incense are to invite all our ancestors to gather and be with us through our the year.

Swee’s memory of mum

Today is Tuesday 9th December 2008 and marks the 2nd death anniversary of my beloved Mother. There hasn’t been a day that passes without thoughts of my mother. There are still moments when I find it hard to talk about my mother’s death as it seems only yesterday that she was cremated.

Two Sundays ago, I came across a photocopy of a hand-written note left by my mother dated 27th October 2006 detailing her final wishes. I have deliberately kept this piece of momento in my bedside drawer. Although I am not educated in Chinese, I was fascinated to see my mother’s handwriting again and I have learnt to memorise every character. Ms Tham, Mum’s accountant read the contents to my brother and I after Mum’s passing so that we could carry out her wishes.

Our mother’s last letter to us, which she read to use before going into hospital for surgery, 2006.

Although my mother was not highly educated as my grandparents were poor, she self taught herself to read and write. I am amazed Mum’s ability to put words on paper. I sobbed by the time I got to the last character. On hindsight, I think my Mum knew that her final moment was coming as she prepared herself to be admitted for her heart surgery on that fateful 31st October 2006.

Paul was unaware until he heard me sobbing in the bedroom. Paul’s memory of my mother is she was a kind and strong woman with a heart of gold. Although my mother came across as being frugal, many misunderstood her real intentions. My mother was a very generous woman and donated her money, time and effort helping out at temples and giving to the less fortunate.

I may have lost a mother but I have so many beautiful memories of a great and wonderful woman whom only I had the priviledge of calling Mum. I am envious of those who still have their parents.

Last year, my mother’s birthday fell on 25th December (Christmas Day) and this year, my Mum’s lunar birthday falls on Saturday 13th December. Paul and I will have a small offering at the Buddhist Temple in Auckland to remember our dearly beloved Mum.

Nature Abstracted

Our exhibition was reviewed in The New Sunday Times.

Lucien de Guise wrote about, our current exhibition, at the KLPac, in the New Sunday Times, November 16, 2008. In that review he put our works along side another on going exhibition of Australian contemporary aboriginal paintings, in town. This insightful positioning of different artists’ works, in a comparative manner, enriches the readers’ and viewers’ perspective of art. This hopefully may lead to a better understanding of the what some artists may be trying to do in their artworks.

It didn’t occur to me before that my recent abstract paintings has an uncunning similarity to some of the Australian artists’ abstract visual constructions. The indigenous artists are naturally gifted in many ways and they have been making paintings with dots and lines in Australia for millions of years. The Australian motifs and designs is also different from those, from in other earlier cave artists’ works, found in other parts of the ancient world. They are truly our artistic fore fathers.

There are many theories as to what these different marks and shapes may mean, but the real meaning, in my view, is hard to get at, unless it is from the artists. What we are left with, in front of one of these artworks, is just our own terms of reference based on our memory and comprehension of things around us. In the end it may be just about intuiting the quality, intensity and inventiveness of lines, shapes and colours of the artist.

In the past few days, while manning the exhibition, we have come across, from the visitors, so many different ways of seeing our artworks and some of their views are a surprise to us. Intrepreting what we see is such fun and abstracting our physical and metaphysical world remains the preoccuping task of many of us and it will be so for many years to come. Enjoy the abstractions.