|Date: April 2014|
I have very exciting news to share with you.
In 2006 Friends Chair, Vicki Firth, started the Collectors Circle, inviting members of the group to donate to the fundraising drive on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Friends. The purpose of the fund was to allow the Art Museum at CUHK to acquire significant pieces of art that would otherwise be beyond their means.
The Art Museum is currently showing, in conjunction with the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford University, two master painters, Lui Shou-kwan and Gao Jianfu. Lui Shou Kwan is often called the father of modern Hong Kong ink painting, and his “Zen” paintings are very well respected and selling at high prices in the auctions. Until now the CUHK Art Museum has had only one of his works, a significant and excellent, large landscape that used to be in the Lee Gardens Hotel but they have no example of his “Zen” style. Apart from this one painting, all the works by Lui in the current exhibition are on loan from the Ashmolean, so it seemed an appropriate time for the Friends to use the earmarked funds to purchase a significant Lui work to compliment the Museum’s current holding.
On Saturday March 15th, the Friends proudly presented the painting, “Zen Lotus”, which was selected by the Art Museum. This purchase has been made possible by funds supplied by the Friends, the Friends Collectors Circle, and with the generous cooperation of Alisan Fine Arts and the artist’s daughter, Helen Ting. This gift is a true testimony of our mission and we thank you all; our members, donors, and partners for your support and generosity the past years, to make this happen. I do hope that you are all thrilled and proud.
An additional highlight is that on the same day Vicki and Denys Firth also donated and presented, “Luk Keng Village”, another extraordinary piece of work by Lui Shou Kwan to the Art Museum as a parting gift in recognition of all the education and enjoyment provided by the Friends and the staff of the Art Museum over the 18 years they have lived in Hong Kong. It was a double presentation and a double celebration- a true showcase of the support for the Museum from the Friends group and collectors. It was certainly a day to remember!
The Friends continues to expand its network in the community- bringing people together through art and culture. This June, Young Friends are particularly proud to present the work of five young artists, four of whom are from CUHK, at the Rotunda, Exchange Square, as part of our initiative to help our young local artists network and reach out. The exhibition is wholly sponsored by Hong Kong Land as part of their 125th Anniversary.
For the coming months, we have many exciting programmes in store for you - the “Jewels of India” Series: ”“Indian Antique Shawls”, with Romi Lamba, “How to Start a Collection” with Judith Rutherford, the Dunhuang Project at City University, Tibetan Thangkas, with Karen Horton, and more. The Friends will be active during Art Asia and Art
Basel. Our Gallery Group has recently regrouped with Elizabeth Miles, Sue Sandberg, and new volunteers, Belinda Piggott, Lydia Dorfman, and Cynthia Lackey, and I know that they have some grand plans in the coming months.
Study group continues to be a regular favourite. Tours are as usual, healthily signed up. We thank those of you who have sent in the Tour Surveys which will be very helpful to the future planning of our tours. Bonnie Pinkham, our new Board member in charge of products, will be looking into ideas and designs for new products.
We are forever indebted to all our sponsors, partners, donors, and members for their support, donations, and participation. I look forward to seeing many of you at one or two of our events and I would be delighted to hear from you if you have any suggestions, ideas to share, or wish to join the workforce.
Happy New Year to you all!
Cannot believe another year has passed and I am already well into the second year of my term as Chair. It has been a very fulfilling, fun and busy year for the Friends and I am thrilled to share with you what we have in store for you in the coming year.
In November, as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the Chinese University, we were very honoured to co-host the Garden Party at home at the Vice-Chancellor’s Lodge, with the University featuring an exclusive Calligraphy Sharing with our special guests followed by a silent auction of some very special works of calligraphy.
This year we are particularly excited to work closely as partners with Prof Jenny So, our new Director, and Dr Xiadong Xu and Dr Josh Yiu, our new Associate Directors of the Art Museum, as we step into a new era of the Art Museum.
In the coming months, we are happy to continue to offer you our regular activities- Study Group, Tours, The Chair’s Series on old local history, etc but we will also be bringing to you new activities such as the Jewels of India Series, talk on Chinese Costumes and many others. Our volunteers work very hard to put together a diverse programme, hopefully with something for everyone. Please do not miss out on Mr K Y Ng’s talk on the authentication of Chinese Ceramics on 25 Feb at the Kee Club, as Mr Ng will bring genuine and fake samples for a touch and play session. Prof Anna Sohmen’s talk on her father Y K Pao on 20th February and Ms Irene Lee on the history of Hysan in Causeway Bay on 20th March are both very intriguing topics about our local history.
Our products have done exceedingly well at the Fairs this year, and I wish to say our special thanks to Ann Mary Stone for her help the last two years overseeing Products and coordinating the Fairs for us. Sadly Ann Mary will step down from Products. She has been a warm, friendly and efficient coordinator and I hope she will remain a Friend and continue to help as a volunteer. We are very lucky that new volunteer Bonnie Pinkham has offered to step in to take over Products. Some of you might have met Bonnie already as she has sat at our products table at one or two fairs in the Oct/Nov and at some of our recent events. We are delighted to have her join the workforce and Bonnie already has many ideas on how to expand Products. We thank you all for your patronage this year, and we are very grateful to our products sponsors, and I hope you have all stocked up on the beautiful Fan Calendar, new Fan folders and the Spirit of the Dragon cards. Please also look out for Collector Edwin Mok’s new book Heavenly Breeze on fans which is available at the Art Museum’s store and through the Friends. Some of you might have attended the talk in early December. Our good friend Edwin is generously donating 50% of the proceeds to benefit the Friends. The book is beautifully put together with amazing pictures- a true feast for the eyes.
As we move into a new year, we wish to invite our members to make suggestions and to give us ideas for our way forward. We are sending out a members’ survey on tours and we would be grateful if you could all participate so we get ideas and comments on how we could try to meet everyone’s interests. We are always looking for more volunteers to help us run our activities as we continue to expand our programmes, so please contact one of us should you be interested to help. We are a fun, friendly group to work with.
As one of my initiatives as Chair since 2012, Young Friends remain close to my heart and our young and energetic volunteer Alexandra Choa is working on a major exhibition for our Young Friends this May/June, so please look out for our YF news!
We are forever indebted to our sponsors, supporters and partners and I would again like to say thanks particularly to: Latham & Watkins, Pacific Harbour Group, KPMG, K Y Fine Art, Galerie Huit, Schmidt Marketing HK, Art Radar Asia, Asia Society, The Epicurean group, The Classified Group, The Kee Club, Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Bonham’s, Hong Kong Land, Dynamic Network Alliances, Hong Kong Trust Company, Yick Fung Printing Company, HK Maritime Museum, Edwin Mok, Angus Forsyth, Sharie Hatchett alias ‘Roxy’ & Virginia Yee.
I feel privileged to be working with such a dynamic team- each of us has our own unique and individual responsibilities whilst supporting each other as a group, and I want to say a big thank you to my Board and our volunteers. At the Garden Party, I was delighted to award the Chair’s Pin to our volunteer Ms Marianne Yeo who is a familiar and friendly face to many and has been a compassionate and dedicated volunteer for many years.
I also wish to thank all our members and each one of you for your support, as without it, the Friends would not be what we are today.
Lastly, may I wish you all an auspicious year of the Horse! Xin Nian Kuai Le!!