Opening - Zhu Yi Yong @ Schoeni Gallery, HK

For many years, Chinese artist Zhu Yi Yong has been exploring the popular child’s game, cat’s cradle. The game harkens back to an age of simplicity and innocence, a time when a child’s imagination is flying high, but of course the red star that every child shaped in its hands also carries a significant meaning in post-Communism China. The artist paint each child in a monochromatic palate, making the red string stand out, but each star is unique. Zhu is an associate professor of oil painting at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, from which he graduated. His paintings are critically acclaimed in China; having won numerous awards, and is held in the collection of the Chinese National Museum of Art in Beijing.

Zhu's new series, on show at Schoeni Gallery from May 12, was inspired by his visits with his students to elementary schools in Sichuan after the earthquake, from which he had a heartfelt encounter with young children in classrooms and playgrounds. Not only had the experiences brought back Zhu’s own childhood memories, but also had him reflect on the effects that political and societal developments of China have had on the younger generation. Amidst the force of what the government calls “economical development” today, the country seems to have entered a state of artificial forgetfulness in which the "past" is simply unwelcomed. But Zhu is persistent with his artistic nostalgia, and insists to search in the past for the innocence and purity of children's that we are losing in our world today.