(Viewpoint) Dove of Peace and 911: Homage to Maestro Ju Ming

I have been interested in art all my life. A major turning point in my artistic development occurred in October 2000, when my dear friend and great art critic Johnson Chang introduced me to Maestro Ju Ming who was in Hong Kong to open an art exhibition and give lectures at the University of Hong Kong.

I gave him my new art book entitled “A New Millennium, A New World” and asked for his advice. Upon studying my works, he felt that my themes were too broad and disorganised, and my techniques too varied for most people to grasp the essence of my works. He suggested that, first, each exhibition and art catalogue should consist of only one theme, so that both the audience and critics could better appreciate and resonate with my works. Second, just as his own mentor, Master Yang Ying Feng, had taught him, I should concentrate the subject on a major theme based on what I am most familiar in real life. Maestro Ju told me that was why and how he developed his signature “Tai Chi” series, which is now world famous. When Maestro Ju was young, his health was poor and his mentor suggested that he practiced Tai Chi, which he began to do every day, and which in turn inspired him to portray the forms, movements, and most importantly spirit, of Tai Chi in sculpture. In order to develop his own unique style, he often used styrofoam as the starting material for his bronze sculptures to highlight the varied points, lines and areas in these works, while maintaining the same style in his works on wood.

Maestro Ju Ming asked me what I love and am most experienced in life. Without hesitation, I said “Medicine and Biotechnology”. He then suggested that I start with a “Life” series, which became the theme of my first sculpture experience. I was most delighted when Maestro and Mrs. Ju Ming invited me to learn sculpture and develop novel artistic ideas and skills at their homes in Taipei and Qingyuan. Over the next two years, I visited them many times, always stayed with them, and used the same tools and materials that Maestro Ju himself used.

On several occasions, Maestro Ju also drove me to the Ju Ming Museum (www.juming.org.tw) in Taipei County, about an hour drive from the city. This is a grand and ambitious project, covering hundreds of acres, and is now a landmark for art lovers from Taiwan as well as for tourists, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Amazingly, this museum was constructed and operated almost entirely using the income generated by Maestro Ju Ming’s works, with little government or public support. This massive project once again demonstrates what the determination and courage of a single individual could accomplish. The museum is home to the largest, as well as some of the best, works by Maestro Ju Ming, illustrating elegantly not only the beauty and impact of his works, but also the harmonious co-existence of art and nature, as well as how art can enhance the beauty of a landscape and vice versa.

Truth • Compassion • Beauty

In August 2001, Master and Mrs. Ju Ming were in Qingyuan where he has a summer home with a huge art studio. I stayed there for 2 memorable weeks, watched him work and even drove up to the mountain top at 4 a.m. to watch the beautiful sunrise. In his studio, Master Ju Ming told me that in his opinion, good artistic creations should be based on the 3 fundamental Chinese virtues : truth, compassion and beauty. He also suggested that since I had spent 30 years in vision research, this must be a subject that was most familiar and passionate for me. He therefore recommended that I focused on painting a series based on the eye and visual processing. Right there and then, Master Ju spread out a 4 ft. piece of paper on his huge table and asked me to paint the retina. He not only watched me paint but also occasionally put some scribbles and my English words or letters on my paintings to illustrate his point.

This was certainly as hands-on education as I ever had. Over the next several days, I created a total of five paintings, much to Master Ju Ming’s delight.

On 7 September 2001, I returned to Master Ju Ming’s home in Taipei to further my artistic study.

On 11 September, as part of my Life series, I produced a sculpture of dove.

I flew back to Hong Kong that evening. When I got home, I customarily tuned in to CNN to see what was happening in the world. Shockingly, I witnessed, live and in colour, the atrocities of 911 as they were unfolding. I therefore named this sculpture which I created on that day, Peace: Homage to the Heros of 911. I hope this piece of art to foster world peace and harmony among all people.

The Adventures of my “Dove of Peace” (DP)

Since 2001, DP has been made using different materials, especially “gold, wood, crystal, bronze and white jade” which in Chinese culture symbolizes the Five Essential Elements.

DP has also been exhibited around the world.

Most memorably, in the Spring of 2017, I was invited to exhibit DP at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Untitiled

After the sculptures returned to Hong Kong in July, I received a phone call from “Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts” inviting me to send back my DPs to Paris for the yearend exhibition at Carrousel du Louvre. I sent the gold and platinum DPs kindly produced by Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group (CTF) and the exhibition opened on 7 December, 2017, the day after my birthday. Mr. Alan Chan from CTF was most gracious to host my 70th birthday celebration at the Dali restaurant of Hotel le Meurice where I was staying. Surprisingly, on December 7, the opening day of the exhibition, I received a Prix d’honneur in Sculpture from Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts.

On 3 September, 2018, CTF established the “Dominic Lam Art Space” at its China headquarters in Shenzhen.

Finally, on 18 December, 1999, the 20th anniversary of World Eye Organization (WEO) that I established to help the sight-impaired in China, I was invited to exhibit my 1.8m stainless steel “Dove of Peace” permanently at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Center, as a symbol to promote “Peace and Harmony” in the city and the world (Fig. 9).

Dominic Man-Kit Lam

Chairman of World Eye Organization

September 10, 2021

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