catmasutra, interview with the Standard, Hong Kong

Don't miss out if you're in Hong Kong!Purrfect picture

Paul koh's paintings are sure to put a smile on your face. Cats with ear-to-ear grins add a light-hearted touch to each of the acrylics in his CatmaSutra series, so named because it is meant to depict the different positions and attitudes of his signature animal.

"Through the years, the CatmaSutra cat has evolved its own story. It's almost alive in its own way, snuggling into different situations and making itself comfortable at every instance," said Koh, who has been working on the series since 2004.

"Its big smile, or the eyes-wide-shut and ear-to-ear grin, represents a deep- seated childhood innocence cum devil- may-care bravado."

Koh's latest artworks will debut at Harbour City's Gallery by the Harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui tomorrow. The show, "From The Depths of My Lullaby," will feature 25 paintings until July 28. The imperturbable cat is everywhere - stuck in a Chinese soup jar, sleeping on a lotus leaf or playing mahjong.

The quirky style in the paintings is based on the personality of Koh's two pets, Halo and Angel. He reckons the series is as a gateway to a new space, a wonderland where emotions are innocent enough to run free, and dreams more than just make-believe.

At times, Koh pays tribute to the masters by having the cat sailing under the great wave of Katsushika Hokusai's famous painting, taking a coffee break at Vincent Van Gogh's yellow house and hanging on in a Piet Mondrian composition.

"It's a way of immersing myself via the cat into the classic paintings I love. In the explorations, the cat is the navigator and we are hitchhikers, grateful for directions in a perfectly innocent and weightless realm," said Koh.

Having grown up with cats his entire childhood, he finds his paintings were inspired by his association, friendship and understanding of the felines.

"The cats in my home were not house cats. They were free to roam wherever and whenever. They were independent individualists, and freedom was their modus operandi. Wherever they are, they seem capable of being happy," he said.

The paintings are priced between HK$5,400 and HK$12,100, and there are collectibles such as tote bags, keepsake boxes and coasters.

Said Koh: "Honestly, it's a bittersweet feeling when the paintings get sold. Each of them is dear to me as it is a tribute to a happy story that'll put a smile on our faces. I grew up with cats and I hope each CatmaSutra painting rekindles a little of everything that we believe to be true as children."

Date: July 4 to 28

Time: 11am to 9pm

Venue: Gallery by the Harbour
(Shop 207, Level 2, Ocean Center, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui)

Inquiry: 2118-0090

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