Who would forget this bold image by Kai Chan, a mix media work he produced almost twenty years ago, challenging our eyes and mind with the contrasting colours of emperor yellow from China and IKB, the International Klein Blue from the French artist Yves Klein, whose work focused on one single, primary colour: blue; not just any blue but a deep blue called ultramarine, originally made by grinding lapis lazuli into power - the finest and most expensive of all blue pigments, used in most ancient cultures for seals, amulets and jewelry. The Roman author Pliny the Elder, enthused from his observation of lapis lazuli’s opacity and gold specks, praised it as “blue heavens and sun’s golden glitter”, leading to an association with sacredness and purity, and this colour, when handed down to the hands of the Renaissance painters, was used quite frequently for the robes of the Virgin Mary. In this mix media work, I believe Kai could have used a less expensive substance, a synthetic ultramarine invented in mid 1800s, yet still achieving this intense noble blue; in simple but delicate suspension, a majestic coronation of a well-carved, something.

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