between identity and culture

I been surfing on the internet quite late last night, stuck on Chinese design blogs and artists’ websites! Some of them make really unusual pieces! I was very pleased to see how the young generation is trying to go ahead to all the traditional craft skills and cultural/religious beliefs by trying new techniques and materials. After spending time on the website “cast from different moulds”, reading and watching the interviews, I found a new artist. The first thing I thought about her work was: “well, no mistake about where she’s from, she’s obviously Chinese!” And yes, I didn’t make any mistake, she’s from Hong Kong. Yes she’s using jade. Yes she’s using red colour. Yes she using material used often in Chinese art… But; in a new way!

The thing which is interesting to see it’s how after years, she’s finally back on the traditions. She has been studying jewellery in Australia first then, back in China, she did a Master at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (more information if you click on the name). She’s now based in Hong Kong as well. Through her work, we can see she has been influenced by her own life experiences, since her studies in Australia, to her return at home few years ago. In her last collection (2012), she finally mixes her life journey with her past and her family, cultural background! New and old are well blended together to make unique pieces, but with a deep Chinese identity! That’s the thing I would like to see mor often: How the new generation can go ahead but without forgetting where they’re from? And I’m not talking only about Chinese here, but about all the different civilisations with a strong art history and culture. Also the name of each piece is interesting to figure out the link between her past and her present.

You want more? Go on her website: Tricia Tang

Another thing to tell you: I’ve just discovered a new material, used since centuries mostly by the Chinese to color their lacquer: the cinnabar. You’ve probably already seen some bright red lacquer vessel! The pigment for the red is actually cinnabar! it’s not used anymore because of its toxicity. Cinnabar was extracted mostly in America for its high rate in mercury. Now real cinnabar lacquer pieces can only be purchased in auction. Because of its harmful effects, the pigment have been replaced by fake chemical one. The cinnabar was also used to make seal. A stamp used as a signature. The ink to print the stamp was made with cinnabar as well! (fair enough, that was for the intellectual/discovery part of the day)

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