Flying symbolizes humans’ yearning for freedom. Lee Woo Sing College has held a joint exhibition for Chen Keng and Faye Chan under the theme of ‘flying’, which is the first joint exhibition of the father and daughter.
Chen Keng is an acclaimed contemporary oil painter who has been in the painting scene for more than three decades. He is famous for his delicate brushstrokes and unbound inspiration. His daughter Faye, a fresh graduate from the University of the Arts London, is a burgeoning painter. She excels in representing her inner world with abstract strokes. Twenty paintings by each are exhibited. Their styles differ a lot, but their works echo one another in their zealous pursuits of dream and freedom.
The path to dream is rugged. Chen Keng’s works include one that depicts an angel with broken wings and one that depicts a fluttering feather. His Yearning impressed me. A boy is briskly running after a soaring seagull with his crown of thorns. It seems the pricking pain caused by the thorns doesn’t affect his interest of chasing the seagull. Faye’s Infinity echoes her father’s work. She depicted a runner heading towards the red skyline. She further spiced up her work by splattering specks on its surface with the effect of glittering stars.
‘Faye’ and fei (flying) are homonymic in Chinese. I trust that the name itself carries the father’s wish for his daughter to fly high. Faye revealed that her father had given much freedom and cultivated optimism in her life. These result in love and hope as reflected in her colour choice and vibrant tone. She illustrated a pilot dragging through the snow with his parachute in the hope to take off again, despite his previous flight accident. She said, ‘As we drag through the rough terrain of our everyday lives, we may discover hope from near and far. That’s why I surrounded the snow hill with yellow which symbolizes hope.’
Ever since the Wright brothers invented the first airplane, humans have been able to soar high unrestrained by gravity and borderline. However, can humans attain infinite freedom? ‘We may be confined by external factors and lack complete freedom. But our hearts can enjoy spiritual freedom by seeking truth, virtue and beauty,’ said Prof. Joseph Wan-yee Lau, Master of Lee Woo Sing College.
This article was originally published in No. 547/548, Newsletter in Dec 2019.