Many of you reading the previous blog asked about the preparations. Yes it took a lot of preparations and a lot of time to make this community mosaic event happen.
The idea to turn one of my first impressions of Beijing into a mosaic lingered in my head already for more than one year. Meeting Thomas Denker at the joined BAMM (British Association of Mosaic Artists ) And DOMO e.V. (Deutsche Organisation für Mosaikkunst) in York 2019 and getting to know his very interesting computer generated photo mosaics, gave me the idea to try and use this technique for a mosaic produced by a team. After a few playful trials during spring 2020 it turned November when I seriously started to develop the designs with my assistant Zhu Shui. She helped with her photoshop skills to make the photo collage – a caricature of a typical Beijing scooter set in front of a landmark building in Beijing, the Wanjing SoHo.
In December 2020 Thomas in Frankfurt rendered the image into 18 pixallated mosaic segments and produced the color chart and material lists for each segment.
In January 21 after finding all the 116 shades of colors in my material stock (this took me about one week going through all the glass mosaic tiles I have) 9 volunteers helped cutting the tiles into 5000 pieces.
Video clip about sorting and cutting material
The two project assistants Zhu Shui and Yuan Hang assembled most of the material boxes counting out 426 tesserae for each box in up to 60 different colors per box and helped preparing the work boards with the numbered sheets for each segment.
The day before the “mosaic happening” my friend Barbara helped with her practical glance to arrange tables and chairs so that 18 workstations were arranged in my studio waiting for the 21 participants to come.
Last weekend I visited Hongkong. In preparation for my trip I researched “Mosaic artists in Hongkong” – and Karen Pow appeared on my screen. After being disappointed that she wouldn’t be in Hongkong when I was there, I was over the moon when she provided me with the detailed locations of her public mosaics all over town – my plan took shape to go on a mosaic tour through Hongkong. I was even more excited when Karin Moorhouse an Australian travel- and food writer who lives in Hongkong for most of her adult life, agreed to join me and even better suggested, as an insider, to work out the route. So we met on a fine morning of January 13, 2020 at the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry terminal to go on this adventure. In the evening of that day over a beer she drew me a line on the map where we went – to my surprise we had circled both main islands Hongkong and Kowloon – seeing great mosaic murals – and touched a lot of Hongkong life and history away from the normal tourist spots. Here is my picture story:
First we went to Mei Foo Sun Chuen station where we found after a bit of asking the Evangel Seminary with Karen Pows latest commissions, beautifying the courtyard of the seminary.
Address: G/F 38-46 Nassau St., Mei Foo Sun Chuen.
The premisses of the seminary are in the lower ground of a multi story building in a a residential neighborhood.
We moved on using the MTR Hongkongs Metro to Tsuen Wan MTR station
The community mosaic at the outside wall of Tuen Wan MTR station was made in 2010 in a collaboration between Karen Pow and Gareth Dunster, with the participation of schools and youth clubs of the area.
The dynamic shapes depicting geometrical patterns from impressions of the city are mounted on the wall along a footbridge along side the station. In downtown Hongkong you can walk a lot on these footbridges over the roaring traffic below the towering high-rise but protected from rain and sun by roofs.
Then we drove to another metro station that was the place of heavy fights between police and demonstrators in the ongoing conflict in Hongkong. During the days of my visit the city was quiet and only the traces of papers stuck over the mosaics in this metro station are some marks of heated disputes.
For Lunch Karin took me to this beautiful new garden&Temple development. We could rest our eyes on the green after looking intensively at walls and our energy was fueled with a delicious vegetarian meal at the restaurant in the park carefully chosen by my food connoisseur companion.
The last stop was one of the remaining villages of Hongkong. The dwelling on a steep slope reminded me of the location of the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Outside the village is a map with points of interest, a pagoda, a silo, a diary workers club.
For the community arts biennale 2013 Karen Pows studio in collaboration with students made the plaques for places of interest in the village using mosaic . Unfortunately we could only find the plaque for the Silo although we walked around a lot in the narrow streets of this dwelling.
Did you know that Hongkong had its own cattle farm and diary production? It turned out that Karin Moorhouse had worked at the diary factory as a manager. Now hard to imagine given the developments of high rise over the past 40 years. The village stayed as a witness of the past of many ordinary people in Hongkong. Hopefully it will not give way to a high rise development.
This is the route we took that day and I am in awe what I saw and learned about Hongkongs living quarters, architecture, history, public transport systems. Thank you Karen Pow for producing all these mosaics that lead me and Karin through your city and thank you Karin for being such a wonderful host and guide. Without you I wouldn’t have learned about the diary farm, the clashes right under the mosaics of Ngau Tao Kok station and the new Nan Lion Garden.