honey khor scintillating images of love
Post on 05-Apr-2016
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DESCRIPTIONA booklet accompanying Ms Khor's third solo exhibition, in Cheras, Malaysia, November 9th 2014
3Comejourneyinto myinner worldmy desire burning to create .... a souls journey to fulfilment
4Sitting in my lotus haven, I am finally at rest with my spirit and the spirits around me. I commune with nature and nature comforts my soul
5I am at one with my naturewatching the free flightof my minds childrenin poems replete with quick
sunflowersdancingin Catalonian fieldsmymesmerising stillnessat timesmelting into a delightof red heatpassionexpressed throughwisps and whimson canvasesemboldenedby the moon
7mushroom treesstartlewhite dovespaloma blancafamilysymbolsobservingkeen forestsof goldenracialmemoryinlands oflushfecundemerald
8Day to night, night to day, through Daliesque landscapes I sore to bask in the summer of Catalonia where my hearts fancy has taken me. I breathe essences of verdant olive, keen
9scents of bramble fruits which stain my painter hand, drip onto sketches only made possible by Catalan light. And through it all I remember my loves who journey with me in thought.
In the summer, while school was out, Honey Khor took her second yearly trip to Northern Spain. Eventually landing in Barcelona, she navigated the transport system to bring herself back to the small town of Figueres, in the province of Girona, and the friends she had made there. The delicate Catalan light effused with the memory of summery scents, fresh mottled apples, ripened strawberries and creatively misshapen brilliant red tomatoes, presented itself unashamedly to the keen-eyed Malaysian/Chinese artist.
Honey had travelled continents, traversed the intricacies of transportations to return to her adoptive family in that very special region of Spain - Catalonia, partly French partly Spanish. Skies, under which the poet Lorca wrote and Hemmingway drank, gave up a serene Mediterranean dark phthalo blue, through which barely a titanium white cloud had drifted. Honey, in her new electrically night green dress and vividly tangerine hat, ducked sweet olive branches and once more sketched her way into ancient Catalonian hearts more used to the Surrealistic eccentricities of their beloved Salvador Dal i Domnech.
Thirteenth century Figueres, birthplace of Dali and luscious figs, sprouted green, fresh. Amidst manganese violet, madder and cooling blues the town presented antique stone faades, squares, statues and a promenade - la rambla arched with shading trees. The awed artist delighted in contrast shadow, keen streaks of sun. Majestic monuments were painted in watercolour, uniquely rendering the dry heat of Orwells Catalonia, and its welcoming golden sun.
Dali was absent, nevertheless it was still exciting to be sleeping in the room he always stayed in (room 101) when visiting Hotel Duran, in Figueres, Spain. Those two weeks in Hotel Duran were time well spent and extremely memorable for us as my artist wife was using the room as a temporary art studio. Her exhibition was later to be hung at the cafe/restaurant Dalicatessen, in Figueres, known for its speciality of anchovies from Roses on the Catalan coast.
Catalonia SummerIn Catalonia I roam free, tasting dark olives and sweet blackberries
The Durans had been great friends of Salvador Dali, schoolmates, friends and patient chefs too, acceding to Dalis often eccentric tastes in both food and art materials. Rumour has it that as well as ordering a variety of birds to feast upon - thrushes, larks and terns, Dali once ordered an octopus, but not for eating - for use as a brush for painting. Another gem tells that Dali was in the habit of drawing on the hotels tablecloths, which were subsequently sent for laundering. You might wonder just how many millions of Euros those tablecloths could be worth on the current art markets of the world if they had been saved from laundering.
In Figueres nearly everything is Dali. The town has made great use of its connection to that great Surrealist painter, especially after Dali made inroads to construct his teatro museo de salvador dali (Dal Theatre and Museum) there, in 1974. At times the sheer weight of commercialism does tend to cloy. You can only see so many badly made Dali watches (as key rings) or buy so many posters of his work before the excitement wears off. But, and there is a big but, when you come face to face with his actual works (in the Museum) you are frequently awestruck. Well, I was, and that does not happen to many times these days.
Hotel Duran was a sheer delight. Yes, the hotel did make its connection to Salvador Dali clear, but in an understated, subtle way. Photos on the wall showed generations of Durans with Dali, or Dali and his classmates both at school and at the art school in Madrid. Other photos were of Gala and Dali, but they were all outdone by original Dali lithographs hanging in reception and all dinning areas of that hotel. Hotel Duran is a treasure trove for lovers of Dalis work and, incidentally provides some of the best accommodation and food to be found in Figueres, as we (my Dali struck wife and I) were to discover on the last night.
Breakfast at the hotel was the usual European fare, with lashings of cold meats and cheeses, not to mention gallons of Nespresso coffee to wash down the rolls, croissants and chocolate croissants. Tea infusions nestled against each other for comfort and the odd pyramid of Liptons Earl Grey tea waited for this odd Englishman to purloin. We never lunched at the hotel. Daylight meant us traipsing off to Cadaques, Port Lligat, Roses, Girona, LEscala or Besalu
(a medieval Spanish town famed for its Romanesque bridge).
Lunch was grabbed on the fly, and where we could, along bus or train routes. Sometimes it was green tea with fresh orange drink and later gelato ice cream (an Italian import) in Girona. There was zarzuela (Catalan fish stew) in Roses, washed down with sangria, after visiting a local farmers market and buying chorizo (Spanish sausage). Other times Middle-Eastern cous cous in Cadaques, taken down some ancient lane laden with bougainvillea, accompanied by Damm Lemon 6-4 (cold lemon cerveza - the Spanish equivalent of British shandy), or simply gazpacho (cold, spicy, tomato soup) taken with local Catalan bread smeared with garlic and rubbed with tomatoes in the Spanish way, while we were on our way.
Generally we steered clear of the tapas bars. Tapas (Spanish appetisers similar to the Middle Eastern mezze or Hong Kong Dim Sum) are a great way to sample Spanish food, but are renowned for cost, not per single dish but as an accumulation over the evening, like in Sushi bars. Tapas simply was not in our meagre budget, travelling, as we were, from the Far East and having to convert from Malaysian Ringgit to the more expensive Euro.Figueres market brought all the colour and flavour of the comarca of Alt Empord in one delicious arena. While housewives and tourists sampled cheeses, dates, meats and fresh fruits, Honey, in her Andy Warhol soup-tin dress, squatted and, with luscious strawberries, painted the vividness of the market environs. Strawberry pits can still be seen beneath the vigorous carmine on watercolour paper, her fingers stained with the colour and sweet, flavoursome juices.
Hotel Duran, gourmet haven for all that is Dali and Gala, sheltered the artist in its notable Dali room. She sketched portraits of the Duran family as thank-you gifts for all the late night chocolate drinks and delicate pastries Seor (Mr) Duran proffered. She talked endlessly with the Duran children and became beloved by the family. She is an adopted Chinese granddaughter, the young Malaysian cousin and devourer of delicious midnight Crema Catalana. Honey stayed there, surrounded by the paraphernalia of Dali, his litho prints, newspaper cuttings, and photographs with the Durans.
In the cooling evening, gold ochre nuts (from leafy Hazel) littered
I tread the bright sunflower fields, bask by aquamarine seas and quaff maroon wines
cobbles near the majestic 11th century Romanesque bridge, in the antique town of Besal. Sanguine, the colour of a poets blood,moss green and ebony olives succulent in their virgin oil, sat in a partially open bag as Honey perched on an ancient rock. She was sketching the monastery, and church, of Sant Pere (St. Peter). She had journeyed past lemon fields of Van Gogh sunflowers to that medieval town, stopping briefly to wallow in the acres of golden flowers. She sat by tumbling waters and remained dazzled by the splendid vistas that Catalonia had to offer. Her driver, non other than that former family friend of the late Salvador and Gala Dali, and new friend to Honey - Seor Duran.
The Catalan coast is truly brave. It is ridden rough-shod over by the sea, forming coves, caves and moulding hearts exuding bravado in their welcoming of strangers. Honey headed for the sea side town of Cadaqus. The beloved coastal town of Salvador Dali, Picasso, the American visionary artist Robert (Bob) Venosa and Walt Disney. Honey sipped lemon beer (cerveza de limon) while sketching sea vistas; delicately capturing the fuchsia sky closing toward sunset. Red sea vessels echoed the tiles of distant roofs, prominent amidst the green of plentiful olive trees. That painting may be found in Hotel Duran and is the property of it collector - Seora (Mrs) Duran.
It was in Cadaqus that Honey met Joan Veh, Dalis good friend, frame maker and, eventually, the photographer whom we have to thank for so many images of Dali, his family and his life. Veh, bald, creased with years but still smiling his magical smile, regaled Honey with remem