Richmond city councillor Chak Au has spent the past year pondering launching a mobile art gallery for showcasing folk art and connecting the community.
Au is still looking for a venue to showcase such art, but he’s already collecting items to exhibit, including one from retired Richmond chartered accountant James Heish, who donated a piece of Chinese decorative needlework this week.
“My idea for the gallery is more like a mobile communication hub. The artwork displayed in the gallery shouldn’t be limited to one culture. Instead, it could be as diverse as possible, encouraging more people to share their thoughts on who we are and where we are going as an evolving community,” said Au.
The artwork exhibited at the gallery can be returned to the owner when the show comes to an end, added Au, noting that hopefully, Heish’s donation could stir up conversations in the community.
Heish told the Richmond News he got his piece dozens of years ago through an auction held by a bank and, since then, it has been kept in his bedroom.
Au said some Chinese immigrants told him how surprised they felt when they first came across some pottery work in galleries around the world, including some from European countries and the Middle East – with the colours being as fresh as painted yesterday and the details so delicate.
The most important thing, added Au, was that they felt ignorant after seeing these art pieces.
“They said we wish we could have known these fantastic work earlier. Looking at other countries’ art broadens our horizons and inspires us to embrace their languages and cultures,” said Au.
“Artwork represents history and tells fascinating stories, which could be used as a way to connect us.”
Heish’s donation is now well-preserved at Au’s home, and later, they will invite the public to a small exhibition when they find a decent place to display the work.