CatmaSutra goes to Hong Kong, the sights, the tastes, the big Buddha...

From the Depths of my Lullaby
Gallery by the Harbour, Shop 207, Level 2,
Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong

4 Jul 09 (Sat) - 28 Jul 09 (Tue)
11am - 9pm daily
Ms Chloe Fong T: (852) 2118 8008

This was technically the second time that I visited Hong Kong. The first was just a stop-over where I didn't even venture out. It was summer and terribly hot and the streets were just too crowded (it seemed too much like Singapore). This time round, I went with some friends who know some friends in Hong Kong, and i guessed I felt the vibe of Hong Kong. This goes to show how much a place can differ if you have the opportunity to meet some really nice and sweet people. That's the real charm of a place.

You think, that since the term was coined, "the Four Asian Tigers" referring to the highly developed economies of Singapore and Hong Kong, (South Korea and Taiwan are the other two) between the early 1960s and 1990s, that the two cities must be alike - crowds of people, fast-paced lifestyle. That immediately reduces my desire to visit Hong Kong as a holiday destination. But one can also not deny the energy and vibrancy of the place, and it's huge. There are lots of spaces for culture to grow organically, for different energies and sub-cultures to develop. Some chaos is essentially required for this energy to surface. That's when Singapore feels like a manicured garden, very much controlled and censored. It's as if the government is afraid of culture, and hence, must always "manage" it, and in doing so, these organic energies are essentially diluited and lost.

As more and more Singaporeans travel and experience the vastness that is so different from our own country and culture, perhaps we would be able to feel that life is bigger, much bigger than this life that we're supposed to live. So Rock-a-bye... live and let live, open your heart and travel. The world's just different places under one sky, not unlike the heart.



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