March 2018

Message from our Incoming Chair Peter Woo

Last year was another great year for the Friends. We conducted over 35 events that culminated in the traditional ‘big two’, the annual Garden Party, held at the Art Museum of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Annual General Meeting at the Dutch Consulate, in November. The Garden party saw the exhibition of some very high-quality works by the students of the University’s Department of Fine Arts. Both events were very enjoyable, well attended, and reflected the dedication and organization skills of our volunteers and board members. Other talks, trips, and exhibitions throughout the year also saw excellent turnouts and were well praised.  

These consistent achievements were in no small measure due to the leadership of our past Chair, Sagiri Dayal, whose hard work, diplomacy, patience, and commitment to the Friends provided the backdrop from which these successes could flourish.

During her time as Chair, Sagiri oversaw a very exciting 2016, the year of our 35th anniversary. The year’s major events commenced with the Mughal Jade exhibition at the CUHK Art Museum, where an extensive collection of exquisite jade artefacts from the Beijing Palace Museum were displayed. The Friends devoted considerable resources and effort to support this major event. It was followed by the exhibition at the Rotunda in Exchange Square with works by 35 artists, all of whom were connected or had graduated from the Department of Fine arts at CUHK, and who ranged in age from young graduates to well-known and well-respected artists, such as Wucius Wong. Our anniversary year ended with the Gala dinner at the China Club, where our sponsors, collectors, and members mingled in a glittering evening. That all these events were greatly successful is a testament to Sagiri’s charm and leadership skills. She took a great interest in strengthening the bonds between the Friends and the Museum. The Young Friends saw steady growth in its membership. Those of you who participated in last November’s trip to India, led by Sagiri, will appreciate the hard work required to coordinate a trip of this nature. We are hoping that we can persuade her to lead another trip for the Friends.

So, it is with much sadness that we must announce that Sagiri has stepped down from her post after two years of dedicated service to pursue an even more challenging, though undoubtedly a happy task, in this year!

As I step into the chair, the Friends will continue to build its relationship with the University Art Museum. In this regard, we are particularly excited to be working with their Director, Mr. Josh Yiu. We shall continue with our grants and scholarships/internship programmes and look towards breaking new grounds with our resources to support the Museum.

Finally, a few words about myself. I have been a finance professional for most of my working life and have enjoyed practising calligraphy as a hobby for a long time. I met Sagiri through a mutual friend in the art world. The worthiness of the Friends’ cause, Sagiri’s charm, and the friendly and dedicated board members soon persuaded me to take up the job as Chair. As my term begins, I would like to thank the board for their confidence in appointing me; the board’s support will be crucial in every respect and I look forward to working with them for the future success of the Friends.

I would also like to express my thanks to all the sponsors, volunteers, and members who have supported the Friends. I look forward to all your support in the coming years.

Peter Woo