• 2:38 pm on November 27, 2013

    At the heart of it all…


    I thought I should explain my reasons for blogging.  This is my first attempt at blogging.  And it isn’t quite a personal blog as it’s about my grandfather and his art.  But it also can’t help being personal because I am the one writing it and it can only come from a personal place.

    granddad collage

    Ng Po Wan (My granddad)


    I guess part of the reason I began this whole process of a website and blog was to discover who my grandfather was.  It’s about claiming back a part of my heritage…one of the only parts I can actually research and learn about.  In my family tree, I know only as far back as my grandparents and I don’t even know if they have brothers or sisters.  For some reason, it’s not something we talk about much in my family. (our history, I mean) And it’s hard to research because it’s in a totally different language than I can understand.  Meanwhile my husband can trace his family so far back that they run out of “greats” to put in front of the names!  He knows where his family is from and when they moved to Canada, which was generations ago.  (Funny enough, I know when my family moved to Canada, too…it was when each of my parents moved here for university!  But I don’t know much of what happened before that.)


    Trying to bridge that gap and trying to find a place where the different parts of ourselves can coincide.


    It’s also about discovering the space between Asian and Western, how we as immigrants or children of immigrants are all trying to bridge that gap and trying to find a place where the different parts of ourselves can coincide.  Where do we fit in?  Like traffic in India, some of us squeeze in to get to the front, others can’t find the space to manoeuvre.  But we are each on our own path.  I have been searching for my own identity between two cultures all through my childhood.  And it hasn’t ended now that I am an adult.  My husband and I sort through even more as we married transracially.  What does it mean in a rapidly social world where we can talk with someone from half way around the world through email or Facebook or any other social media outlet?  Is the world turning “beige” as Russell Peters jokes about?  How do we continue to expand and learn and explore but continue to remember and honour our past?

    My grandfather struggled with this same theme in his artwork.  One of his greatest compliments was when someone could tell that a Chinese artist painted the artwork.  But what makes a painting “Chinese” or “Western”?  Do we need to compartmentalize art?  At the same time, my grandfather was Chinese.  He was very proud of that fact and it shows through in his artwork.


    Do we need to compartmentalize art?

    Which brings me to my Third Reason…

    I’d like to use this space to create discussion on art.  My grandfather was always learning and practicing his technique.  He was always a teacher.  Even on his tours promoting his exhibitions, he would give demonstrations.  So I would hope he would embrace this opportunity to discuss and learn about art.  What is Modern Art?  What makes art meaningful?  Does the intent of the artist matter or only what the viewer takes away?  It doesn’t mean I have answers.  I probably only have more questions but it’s good to get us thinking.

    © Copyright 2013 Cantra Limited. Please contact us for permission to use any of the images.

    Tin Sum Village, 66 x 81cm, oil on canvas, 1962

    And finally…

    I suppose the last thing I hope to do through this blog and website is to share my grandfather’s art.  I do believe that he was a brilliant painter (no bias at all) and I believe he had a lot to share with the world.  And if anyone wanted to purchase one of his beautiful paintings, well, that would be a bonus. :)

    The name of the blog reflects all of this…all the different INTERSECTIONS of life coming together, but for me, at the heart of it is my granddad.


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