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A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays.
Sushi Grass in Paradise (A story)
written by Holly Lee
with photographs by Lee Ka-sing
Without saying much Mrs. Bento felt the sadness in Chai’s heart. Their city was burning. No news was good since June and the whole situation has gone completely out of hand, providing further grounds for the government’s tighter grip on the protestors. Qi, Chai’s father had bad news. A week ago he took a false step and twisted his ankle. At the doctors advice he stayed at home and took rest. In any case, many forms of transportation have ceased to operate since there are disturbances and road blockages in many parts of the city. Chai has a lot in common with some of her friends, who mostly express their views, or side with the protestors but not the will to take more drastic action. Or perhaps she is too far away from the core of action? Would she join the thousands if she’s in the city? Was it a worthy cause until now? She has already been blamed by her more progressive friends for staying away. Yet she has never felt the lack of freedom back home. Or, has she overlooked the freedom she so used to gets slowly boiling away? What is the extent of liberty anyway? Is there truly liberty and who has the authority to give it? Who is the giver and who is the receiver? Can a line from a 1994 Joni Mitchell’s song give her some answers? It said All liberty is laced with borderlines.
Chai felt more relief after whatsapping her father and knew he got much better, his job also secured. Qi would avoid going out on weekends and Sundays, when most events scheduled to break out. Focus on your work Chai, encouraged his father, make best use of your freedom when you have it! Yes, I am lucky, I’m staying now in a free, and the most cultural tolerance city in the world! Chai said to her father, sobbing. But I worry about you, and lives of others over there. How long will it take to get back to normal? This ‘adjusted’ normal the city must earn and learn the hard way.
Atrocities and political uncertainties have created huge movements in global migration. While some arrive in a new country replete with resource, as investors or self-employed, those have-nots or plain refugees find it exceedingly challenging to begin a new life. Even though Mrs. Bento rarely thinks about these issues she has become more and more aware of such facts. Here is calm waters, even in the coldest of Winters no one is depleted from getting some warmth from the communities. There are hands to give a lift, ears to listen to stories and shoes for those who walk bare feet. Shoes, oh yes, she remembered the shoe tree in front of the house on Gladstone Avenue. It was a day well-spent with Chai, exploring the street she has been living on for more than a decade. This house, with a tree draping different kinds of shoes turns out to be Adam House, a charitable organization that provides refugees clean, safe temporary accommodations. They would never have known it had they not explored that street. And on that slightly cool and breezy day, just a bit south they would hit another borderline - Dufferin Park Avenue, enter Dufferin Grove Park and venture further to meet the park’s public bakeovens.
"Sushi Grass in Paradise" is an on-going story. To read the full length version with previous chapters, please visit- https://oceanpounds.com/blogs/sushi-grass-in-paradise
89 • The Golden Lotus • Footsteps of June (1989)
Photographs by Holly Lee
This photo project was within a larger, multi-layered project sparking off a dance performance accompanied with live music, and an art installation - all centred and created around the Chinese classic novel The Golden Lotus. Composed in the early 17th Century the novel is considered one of the six major classics of Chinese literature.
When I was asked to join the Golden Lotus Project, the Tiananmen Square protests had just started in China. The portrait series I proposed to make of the performers and musicians was never direct interpretation of the characters in the book. But the six weeks of protests ended in bloodshed did affect the way I felt and the feelings injected into these photographs, and the title of the exhibition echoed these thoughts.
89 • The Golden Lotus • Footsteps of June is not a big series, it consists only of fourteen prints. But looking back, it was a pleasant collaboration with the artists involved in this project. It was shown at 97 Brasserie and Le Cardre Gallery (1989). A few years later, three images from the series was exhibited at Contemporary Photography from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (1994, Hong Kong Arts Centre) as C-type prints in a bigger size (image 18"x36", frame size 50"35").
Published here, are images directly scanned from the suite which was originally exhibited at Le Cardre Gallery. Print size is 12"x16", reversal photographs directly printed from colour transparencies. The first image below in a frame, was the original piece from the exhibition at Le Cardre Gallery in 1989. However while working on this feature we cannot locate Peter Suart's solo portrait, which is presented here as the last image in the series, using a scan from a smaller dye-sublimation print (8.5"x12").
89 • The Golden Lotus • Footsteps of June 八九 • 金瓶梅 • 六月前後
Mui Cheuk Yin 梅卓燕, performer
Kung Chi Shing 龔志成, musician
Kung Chi Shing 龔志成 and Peter Suart 彼得小話, musicians
Sunny Pang 彭錦耀, choreographer
Pia Ho 何秀萍 and Margaret Lee 李翠玲, performers
Frances Tao 陶馥蘭, performer
Margaret Lee 李翠玲, performer
Robert Fung 馮萬剛, performer
Lindsay Chan 陳令智, performer
Norman Fung 馮唸慈 and Sunny Pang 彭錦耀, choreographers
Pia Ho 何秀萍, performer
Norman Fung 馮唸慈, choreographer
Miguel Zermeno, performer
Peter Suart 彼得小話, musician
Photograph in frame, size: 50"x35", C-type photograph
Documentation from an exhibition at GALLERY 50, Toronto (2015)
This was one of the three original photographs showing at the "CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY - MAINLAND CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN" (Hong Kong Arts Centre, 1994)
Hand made invitation card, supergloss reversal print, texts over printed with copying machine, size 4"x8"
Café de avant-garde
A poem and wood block print by Lee Ka-sing
14"x28", in edition of 5 (1976)
A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays.
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leekasing.com is a portal website for current and earlier works. Apart from exhibitions, Holly and Ka-sing use extensively web platforms to display photography and writing projects. Contact us for a detail list of links.
Holly and Ka-sing currently live in Toronto with their daughter Iris, and their cat Sukimoto.