Sketching His Land and People:
The Drawings of Eddie Chau

26 Jun 2024 - 13 Oct 2024
1/F & 2/F, Fung Ping Shan Building, UMAG, HKU, 90 Bonham Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

The University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong, is honoured to present Sketching His Land and People: The Drawings of Eddie Chau, a retrospective exhibition of the late artist’s work.

Eddie Chau (1945–2020) was a Chinese painter born in Indonesia who made Hong Kong his home in 1992. Having taken art lessons in high school in Bandung, Indonesia, and receiving artistic mentoring from the painter Jiang Yudi, his training as a painter was primarily self-taught, relying on disciplined practice and the ability to see—and make others see—the beauty in life.

A talented water-colourist, Chau’s skill in depicting the lush natural environment was first recorded in the landscape paintings he executed as a young adult in the mid-1960s in Indonesia. Documenting the rural environment in and around Bandung, his work is exemplary in terms of his attention to detail and the colour palette employed to render the village scenes in a warm light. His naturalistic style gives Chau’s paintings a sincerity that is at once honest and beautiful.

While these influential early years were followed by material scarcity and simpler monochrome drawings executed in Guangdong province, it was during these formative years that he further developed his genius for observing and recording both larger pictorial contexts and minuscule details. From Chau’s more modest sketches from the 1970s to the complex drawings preserved in his sketchbooks of the 2000s, his oeuvre records the master’s development of hand skills and meticulous drawing techniques for which his later panoramic paintings are known.

Today, it is thanks to the artist’s careful preservation of his work that later generations can fully appreciate the variety of artworks produced, the artistic development mastered and the principal pieces Eddie Chau will be fondly remembered for. This comprehensive exhibition bears witness to the artist’s nearly sixty-year-long career and it celebrates the generous donation by the artist’s family of more than 200 artworks.

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