19 August 2022 (Friday) – 18 September 2022 (Sunday)
11:00am – 6:00pm (Tuesday – Sunday)
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Ceramic artist Ray Chan See Kwong has always loved searching for beginnings in traditions, finding inspiration from it, and recasting the old in new light. What attracted his attention this time was the brewing of Hakka rice wine (yellow wine). As Hakka passed through different dynasties and regions, their wine brewing picked up a diverse mix of methodologies. But there was a common thread – brewing was primarily carried out by the females of the house. And these yellow wines had a central role in weddings, babies’ full month ceremonies and new year celebrations, conveying blessings from the family.
Different Hakka families, even from the same region, have their own unique brewing techniques, which are often accompanied by many interesting stories. Ray was very keen to discover these stories. Among the numerous techniques, he found that one of the steps, ‘roasting wine’, was very similar to ‘smoke firing’ in ceramics. One way of ‘roasting wine’ was to apply mud onto the external surface of the wine pot, burying the pot in straw and husks, and then mellowing the wine by firing it to medium heat. With reference to these various Hakka techniques, Ray applied the concept of ‘wine brewing’ to ‘clay/mud brewing’, introducing elements of fermentation, glutinous rice, wine roasting, yellow wine dishes and so on, and creating a new series of ceramic works and wine vessels. He hoped to arouse public interest in Hakka culture through his work, and encouraging others to share their own wine brewing experiences, recipes and stories.
It is increasingly difficult to brew wine using traditional huge ceramic wine urns due to the lack of space in the home. Some Hakka families living in the city would replace these urns by using containers that are readily available and could be easily stored, such as glass bottles. Wine brewing is not popular among younger Hakka people as it is considered a handicraft of bygone generations. He reflected on whether innovations and traditions could coexist. Ray collaborated with an up-and-coming ceramic artist Silvester Mok and used 3D printing technology to create a modern ceramic wine urn, hoping that the tradition of Hakka wine-brewing could have a place in this age of innovation, raising the level of interest and participation of the new generation, and re-establishing Hakka wine brewing as a fashionable heritage. Ray has specially designed an interactive App for audience to submit their wine cup designs and to share their brewing recipes and tasting notes. He may conduct private guided tasting of these wines at the exhibition.
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