Art & Places: Nobel Peace Prize Laureates statues, Cape Town

When visiting V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa, one cannot miss a row of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates statues at the Nobel Square.

When my husband and I came across these four statues, we were excited to take photos. The four statues are arranged in a neat row for us to pose by, with the added bonus of Table Mountain as a backdrop–a photo opportunity not to be passed up!

The four Laureates are Albert Lithuli (1960), Desmond Tutu (1984), FW de Klerk (1993) and Nelson Mandela (1993). The larger-than-life-sized statues are casted in bronze and were the work of renowned Cape Town artist, Claudette Schreuders. These bronze statues were built to honour South Africa’s four Nobel Peace Prize Laureates for the role they played in achieving peace and democracy.

Nobel Square is situated just beside Waterfront Art Market.

My husband posing with the statues. His favourite is of course, Mr. Mandela. I tell about the giant red crates statue later in another post.

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Art & Places: Giant Sundial, Pudong, Shanghai, China

When I saw this giant sundial while visiting Shanghai last February, it reminded me of my son who is quite amazed with how a sundial works.

Completed in April 2000, this giant sundial sculpture, known as Oriental Light, is situated at the eastern end of Century Avenue, forming the entrance to Century Square, Pudong, Shanghai. This large scale sculpture  which represents a huge time piece also serves as public modern art and the first of it’s kind of large-scale urban landscape sculptures in China. The large elliptical frame measures 400 square meters and the total length of the stainless steel tubes used exceeds 6,000 meters. Oriental Light was built based on an idea by French architect, Jean Marie Charpentier.

A sundial is an instrument that measures time by the position of the sun. Called “rigui” in Chinese, a sundial is a timepiece that indicates the daylight hours by the shadow that the gnomon casts on a calibrated dial in ancient China. A typical sundial is made up of a bronze pointer and a stone dial. The earliest sundial in the world was created some 6,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. And the earliest sundial of China, according to historical documents, was the flat horizontal dial plate, or the horizontal sundial invented in 574 AD.

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Art & Places: Shikumen in Old-Day Postcard Book, Shanghai

I like to buy painted postcards from places that I went to and during my recent trip to Shanghai, I found a gem; a book of painted postcards entitled Shikumen in Old-Day Shanghai, painted by Ye Xiong,  a native of Chongming, Shanghai.  I picked it up and paid instantly.

I am not familiar with Ye Xiong but I learned about him when I bought this postcard book. Ye Xiong is multiple award-winning artist and has attained The Best Work Award twice, National Book Award and Bing Xin Child Literature Book Award once each. He is currently the Vice President of Shanghai Painting and Calligraphy, Institute of Democratic League.

This book has a set of a dozen of postcards that feature beautiful paintings of Shikumen houses, one of the symbols of old-day Shanghai. The price is RMB18 and can be bought from Old Shanghai Market.

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Art & Places: Journal d’Italie – David B, Bologna, Italy

It is always amazing to see an outdoor exhibition especially like this one in Piazza Del Nettuno in Bologna, Italy.

When I visited Bologna back in 2010, I did not expect much as I did not planned properly where to go and what to see as I was  busy completing my illustrations to be taken and displayed at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. But seeing something like this on the last day of my stay in Bologna was like a bonus. And knowing that David B is one of the masters of French comics, this was like a very big BONUS. For those not in the know, this was David B‘s last work. Although I did not understand a single word, I love the illustrations. These illustrations are from his comic Journal d’Italie, Tome 1: Trieste Bologne, published by Delcourt, in February 2010 in French language. It is a carnet de voyage in which the author explores some Italian towns (Bologna, Trieste, Venice, Parma), dwelling on the atmospheres and mysteries that they arose, with an approach between fascination and sense of strangeness for Italy.

And these shall inspire me to keep drawing in my sketchbook when I go travel. I have been slacking from drawing in my travel journal, most probably because the last sketchbook was not up to the quality I expected. The colour bleeds when I paint on it. I just bought 3 watercolour A5 sketchbooks and bound them into one and made it my new travel sketchbook. Waiting to fill it during my next travel. Tested this paper, and the outcome is great. You can see the outcome samples from my recent lil guardian’s illustrations. To me when the paper is of the right quality, one tend to draw nicer. Or was it the mood? Or the hope of going to Frankfurt? LOL, I dunno, whatever it is, I love the feeling.

I hope David B inspires you too to start your own travel journal/comic.

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Art & Places: Beaded wire art in Cape Town

When I visited V and A Waterfront in Cape Town, wire beaded sculptures exhibited outside of the main entrance of African Trading Port captured my eyes.  They were huge,very fine and the detailings were magnificent! I wonder how long does it take and how many beads were needed to create one big sculpture. But one thing for sure, this kind of art needs tons of perseverance. It is just amazing that these wire arts are created from wire, beads, tin cans, and other recycled materials. Other than big sculpture like the above, smaller pieces of the wire art in the form of keychains, dolls, decorations, etc, can be found at the  Waterfront Craft Market.

According to this website, it is believed that this wire art originated in South Africa’s rural Northern Kwazulu-Natal. Young herd boys were the first to introduce these works of art. Designing wire creations from any recycled materials they could find, these boys produced some of the most magnificent, functioning appliances—they even built cars! Their inspirational wire creations encouraged other locals to participate in this highly marketable art form.


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Art & Places: Korean Dancheong Art

Emila Yusof

During my visit to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, I noticed that every building has a very attractive and vibrant paintings.

Curious of finding more about the art, I took pictures for the purpose of studying the design and went Yahoo-ing the net. I didn’t know what the name of the style was, but I just typed in “culture of Korea” and voila! I found a wiki page about the art. It is called Dancheong.

Dancheong is a multi-coloured decorative painting mostly done on wooden buildings and artifacts for the purpose of style and to protect surfaces and conceal the crudeness of materials.

Emila Yusof

Originally arriving with Buddhism when it was brought from China, the patterns of Dancheong were modified in Korea. It is said that during the Shilla period, Dancheong was even found on commoners’ home. Now it is limited to temples and palaces as well as some musical instruments.

Dancheong is based on five basic colors; blue (east), white (west), red (south), black (north), and yellow (centre).

According to its design, colour and style, Dancheong is classified into five types: Gachil Dancheong, Geutgi Dancheong, Moru Dancheong, Geummoru Dancheong and Geum Dancheong.

There are also special kinds of Dancheong such as Gobun Dancheong, Chilbo Dancheong, Geumbak (Eunbak) Dancheong, Geumni (Eunni) Dancheong and Ottchil Dancheong.

Emila Yusof

Gachil Dancheong usually uses a green or reddish-brown monochromatic under-painting with no patterns. Geutgi Dancheong adds some decorative patterns by drawing black and white lines on a single-colored under-painting. Moru Dancheong draws a simple-shaped Meoricho (pattern) only on the ends of the bracket, and adds the finishing touches to the middle part of the bracket with black and white lines. Geummoru Dancheong is a crossover of Moru Dancheong and Geum Dancheong, adding some geometric patterns to Moru Dancheong. Geum Dancheong boasts the most colorful paintwork, with various kinds of elaborate silk patterns and Byeoljihwa (decorative pictures) drawn on the whole part of the bracket, except the part on which Meoricho is drawn.

The process of Dancheong is as follows: at first, workers begin to work with polishing the foundation of Dancheong. After applying boiled water including glue to the foundation, they prepare the drafting paper by coating it 5 times.

In order to put figures of drafting paper on a building, they must spread blue & green soil on it. When they tap a powder bag on framework-covered surface, it flows out from a hole and outlines the figures carved in the frame. After, they decorate the building with paint using the basic five colours.

Emial Yusof

Overall, I really love this one unique aspect of Korea. To me, art truly reflects the culture values of a country and I am glad that I had the chance to experience and see this art form myself.

Here’s my take on Dancheong on watercolor paper with my color preferences. It doesn’t have specific meaning as I was just exploring the design.

Sketch by Emila Yusof

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