The past Saturday, August 24th, we had the Hidden Stories event here at Richmond Nature Park. It was such a magical day that I do not even know where to begin describing it all. The weather was perfect; the sun was shining and the wind was gentle. We saw familiar faces from the past workshops who came to see the installation as well as many who just came to the park on a sunny day.
Every time before a big installation, I cannot help but be a little nervous as you are never sure if things will work out to what is envisioned. When I was creating Hidden Stories, I desired for it to be a work that inspires the viewers to slow down and enjoy the nature and each other’s company. Many staff members told me that they heard strangers talk to each other, finding the little people together. I saw many families circle the boardwalk numerous times, spending the time to enjoy each story. Some came to ask me the meaning behind few of their favourites and the progress of the project. With the laughter, exclamations and excitement, all I can say is that it went better than I can ever imagine.
I have many photos to share so we will go one by one through each story. Though the digital can never replace the wonder of nature and that moment of discovery, I hope they can capture a glimpse of the magic of that day.
The Story of Birds:
Let us gather to watch the birds fly by.
The Story of Buttercups:
We shall go enjoy the wonders of nature.
The Story of Butterflies:
Catching the fleeting moments of treasured childhood.
The Story of Colours:
Seeing the world in all its colours.
The Story of Constellations:
A child’s legacy in the night sky.
The Story of Crows:
Commemorating the circle of life.
The Story of Flowers:
Come see the duck flower, the blue jay flower, the red jay flower and the berry flowers.
The Story of Life:
Recalling a moment between life, death and the awe of nature.
The Story of Lunch:
A lunch shared between friends.
The Story of Macro:
Trying to find that perfect shot?
The Story of Memory:
A journey into the abstracted fragments of memory.
The Story of Seashells:
Remembering that summer day at the beach.
The Story of Smell:
Inhale the colour of the fragrances.
The Story of Stairs:
Up, up and up we go.
The Story of Time:
A bond with nature across the generations.
The Story of Trees:
A mission to make the world pink.
The Story of Windows:
Discovering the beauty of nature around the world.
From the Open Studio on August 3rd.
The Richmond Nature Park Staff
A big thank you to my install assistant, Shanna Cheng for helping me get the 216 pieces up in the 2.5 hours and photographer, Bor Yan for documenting it all. Of course, thank you to Richmond Public Art and the Richmond Nature Park Society for making this all happen. Excited for the legacy piece on Newton the Newt ahead.
I am excited to invite everyone to the interactive installation Hidden Stories this Saturday, August 24th at Richmond Nature Park.
The interactive installation is inspired by a series of one on one conversations between the artist and the community called Story Exchange. These exchanges were conducted at Richmond Nature Park during the months of June to July 2019. With the artist, participants created a visual map of their relationship with nature starting with their connection to the land and followed by the senses of touch, sight, smell, hearing, taste and memory. The artist then interpreted each of these stories into an illustrated scene and is installed back into the nature to which it came.
My install assistant and I will be there in the wee hours of the morning to set up the 216 little people in their environments. The public is invited to come by between 11:00am to 3:00pm to take a stroll and find these stories of nature. It has been months and months of work leading up to these magical 4 hours. I hope you are all as ecstatic as I am to fully experience it all.
Here are some sneak peeks of a few of my favourite pieces. See you there!
The past Saturday we had our first Open Studio here at Richmond Nature Park. I laid out some of the books created from Story Exchange and its corresponding interpreted illustrations to view. It was such fun to talk with all those who came by about the process and progress of the project. I had good reviews and responses from children and adults alike. Many enjoyed the meaning, community involvement and research this portrays while the little ones just simply believe the drawings were magical.
A station for the community to create some cameos for the installation was also set up beside. I encouraged everyone to find inspiration from the plants or animals in the trails but soon, creativity took over. I am happy to say we will be including the Park’s first lion, t-rex and a new species of fish called "daddy fish". These and all the other artworks created will be hidden in the park around the boardwalk for everyone to find at Hidden Stories happening soon!
One thing I learned during all the workshops is the joy of working within nature. From noon to late afternoon, the community and I would move around the sun to find shade during Story Exchange. On Saturday, we ran around to catch fly away paper that was not taped down during winding gusts. It was a great conversation starter on our relationship with our environment and brought a lot of laughter.
This Open Studio concludes all the workshops leading up to the installation. During the next two and a half weeks, I will be processing the estimated 200 images created and prepare them for Hidden Stories. Though seeing them in white does not encompass the whole aesthetics of them installed in nature, I would still like to show a few sneak peaks of the final illustrations. Each is from a different story and interweaved with marks made by the community in a different way.