Cradle Book

April 10th, 2009 Posted in | No Comments »


An Introduction to a New English Publication on the Cradle Exhibition 


The English book “The Cradle of New Chinese Ink Painting Movement”, a 2009 publication, is not just an English translation of the Chinese book “新水墨畫運動的搖籃〞which was published in 2006 before the first “Cradle” exhibition was held.  It contains new materials and information formerly not included in the Chinese version.  One significant addition is the new section with photos and descriptive notes on the 9 exhibitions and 10 symposiums/workshops/lectures on the subject of the “Cradle” exhibition.  


This book gives a new perspective to the term Chinese painting.  Chinese ink painting is no long a historical or ornamental artifact, but a valuable and functional art subject that can be applied in school classroom teaching to fulfill the functions of “whole person” education which educators aim at achieving today.  The English Cradle book reveals to the world how 40 years ago a program of learning and teaching of Chinese ink painting with the above-mentioned purpose in mind was put forward for the first time in Chinese art education history at Wah Yan College, Kowloon in Hong Kong.


This book reveals a hidden fact in modern Chinese art history that the activity centre of the leading artists responsible for the development of the New Chinese Ink Painting Movement was a small Art Room (a classroom) in Wah Yan College, Kowloon in Hong Kong, hence the name of this book and the “Cradle” exhibition.


The English “Cradle” book contains a full account of the innovative program of a new method of learning and teaching Chinese ink painting, with 149 examples of works by students (aged 12 to 14) taking part in the program,  and notes for teachers’ reference .  The author gives an interesting account of how such a program came into being.  People who want to learn more about the “New Chinese Ink Painting Movement” will find an answer in the Discussion Papers there. 


The cover design and layout of the book is the masterpiece of today’s commercial design genius, Bernard Yan-Chi Yiu.  It is a 250-page 12 x 10 inch volume in full colour, under hard cover and weighs approximately 3 lbs.  A publication of Wah Yan College, Kowloon, Hong Kong registered under ISBN 978-962-85381-2-6.


Sample Pages 


Please click on the image to view some sample pages of the book.

Cradle Book Sample Pages
Cradle Book Sample Pages


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About the author, Laurence Tam


Born at Guangzhou, Guangdong province in 1933. Moved to Hong Kong in 1947. Graduated from St Joseph’s College in 1954, and from Northcote Training College, major in art education, in 1956. He got his BA degree from London University in 1965, MA degree in Chinese art history from Hong Kong University in 1970, and MA degree in museology from Toronto University in 1975.

Tam began to teach art at Wah Yan College, Kowloon in 1956. In 1966-71, he experimented a new method of teaching Chinese ink painting. Was Honorary Lecturer, PhD degree examiner of Fine Arts Department of the Hong Kong University. Between 1969 and 1983, he taught Chinese creative painting, Chinese art history and art administration courses at the Extra-mural Department of the University. As Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, he completed the planning and establishment of the Museum of Tea Ware in 1984, the New Hong Kong Museum of Art in 1991, and the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre in 1992. He was awarded MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 for his significant contribution to Hong Kong art. Since 1993, he has been appointed the Honorary Adviser in Art of Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong SAR, China.


Other than an art teacher and museum director, Tam is also an artist of his own right. He was the first President of In Tao Art Association founded in 1968, and actively involved in promoting the “New Chinese Ink Painting Movement” in Hong Kong. His unconventional Chinese ink compositions of the “Grottoes” series, and “Landscapes of the Mind” with details re-created from free ink splashes have been exhibited in Hong Kong, Taiwan, United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Japan, Italy and Australia. His works are in the collections of various museums and private institutions.


His publications include “Background Notes on 20th Century Chinese Painting in Hong Kong”, “An Introduction to the Development of Kwangtung Painting”, “The Cradle of New Chinese Ink Painting Movement”, “Six Masters of Early Qing and Wu Li”, “Chinese Bamboo Carving”, “Yuan Ceramics” in Groove Dictionary of Art, etc.