At a twist of fate, she gets her puff with no further delay
Spanish Caravan V
At a twist of fate, she quits on 1st of May
Beyond White Clouds XII
At a twist of fate, the mobile turns her best mate
Through Time and Space
At a twist of fate, he finds a new faith
Between Voids IX
At a twist of fate, He never catches up with his age
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Rosanna Li Wei-han & Yeung Yuk Kan

Parallel Journeys in space and time at Artspace K is an exhibition of fifty ceramic sculptures created by Rosanna Li Wei-han and Yeung Yuk Kan. Even though they share the same medium, their art could not be more different. Rosanna uses a coarse-grained, grogged clay known as crank to create rotund characters enjoying common daily activities. Yuk Kan works in white porcelain decorated with calligraphy. This delicate graceful material becomes abstract three-dimensional canvases for her paintings. Rosanna’s sculptures are grounded; Yuk Kan’s are spiritual. Both are emotion-evoking.  

Plump ladies of the Tang dynasty 

The distinctive feature of a Rosanna sculpture is the facial expression, something very important to her. Look closely and you will notice they are usually looking up. This is because she wants to have a dialogue with them while sculpting and “because they’re so small they always look up.”  She commented that some people see them and say “Oh, they’re looking at the sky. Maybe they want to make wishes.” Or that “everybody can look up and have hope.” Rosanna indicated these are lovely ways to interpret them.

Rosanna traces her style back to the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD), specifically the recurring plump ladies. She points out their beauty and that the expressions on their eyes and noses are individually unique. 

Chinese painting and calligraphy

Yuk Kan traces her style back to her east-west experiences. After a few years of teaching secondary school in Hong Kong, her ceramics teacher encouraged her to move to London and further her studies. She did. She found London an epic city and went to museums almost every weekend. In the last ten years, she has come back to her roots to incorporate more Chinese painting and calligraphy into her work.

Rosanna’s sculptures are approachable

To admire Rosanna’s sculptures all one needs do is look at them. They are approachable and are doing things with which most people can identify. Her artworks are very local, and the titles frequently incorporate homonyms so loved by Cantonese speakers. She does wonder if her work is appreciated by people away from Hong Kong, but the welcoming cherubic faces with their small eyes and joyful innocent expressions are easily loved. 

Admiring a Yuk Kan sculpture is about emotional feelings. She finds it moving when people look at her work and then feel something unexplainable. “When I make a work and I bring it to the world, they should speak for themselves, the work itself. People don’t need to know about my story to know my work, because they should stand on their own.” She thinks it is to look and to open your heart, to open your mind, to see what speaks to you, what the art tells you. Not everybody can make a connection. There is also a question of taste. Some people like red, some like blue, and it is the same with art. What is fascinating about art is that there are so many different kinds.

Parallel Journeys of Rosanna Li & Yuk Kan Yeung

Rosanna and Yuk Kan are two very different ceramic artists — one is earthy, the other dreamy. One offers an astute perspective of people and society, the other a meditative reflection on human emotions. Together they provide a parallel journey in space and time.

Text Martin Wray / Photos Cammy Yiu