On a foreign land
Acrylics and Oil Pastel on Wood
24 x 48 inches
Oil on canvas
Pinewood Battery at LFS
The Yellow Flower of Tai O
Conduit Road 2018
Lai Chi Wor Village
Tai Tam Lower Reservoir
Wong Ma Kok
Stanley Lookout Point
Blake Pier , Stanley
A Red House in Cheung Chau
Mixed media on paper
Oil on Wood , A set of 4 Triptyches
30.5cm x 61 cm , 61cm x 61 cm , 30.5 cm x 61 cm
Freedom of Expression- I Think Therefore I Am
Freedom of Worship- Faith Defender
Freedom from Fear – We Dare to Defend Our Rights
Freedom from Wants – Each of Us Shall Find Our Own Need
The Four Freedoms Project 2018
“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.”
Such were the words of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1941 State of Union Address that inspired American artist Norman Rockwell to create his famous “Four Freedoms” paintings in 1943 and the artist Louis Ebarb to initiate an art-based project after the 2016 US Presidential election. As 2018 marks the 75th anniversary of Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” series, Ebarb considers it timely to remind everyone of these four essential freedoms through artistic expression – not just of his own, but also of artists from different cultures, ethnicities, and beliefs.
Elaborating on his thinking behind the project, Ebarb said, “After the U.S. election of 2016, I was confused and dissatisfied with the political result. I was in sympathy with many of the protests against the results but was very uncomfortable that even some people who I have loved and know to be caring individuals sometimes argued fiercely and unyieldingly from very different perspectives.”
The Four Freedoms Project is meant to both inform and inspire. He added: “I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind but I do hope to find common ground with both sides of the political spectrum so that the ideals and goals that the F.D.R.’s Four Freedoms remind us of our better selves.”
In response to Ebarb’s invitation, four artists with diverse cultural background and artistic styles each created four works for the Four Freedoms Project 2018. Together with Ebarb’s own four paintings, the twenty art pieces were exhibited at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York State from May 5th to the end of June, 2018. Although they are all on the same theme, the great variety in style, subject matters and medium is remarkable.
Tina So, a native Hong Kong artist, is unique in her international exposure. She has studied and worked in Hong Kong, Vancouver, Toronto, Nanjing, and Shanghai, graduating with a B.A. in fine arts from the RMIT University of Melbourne, Australia. Painting on wooden panels and working with woodblock printing are her preferred means of artistic expression.
In response to Ebarb’s call for a joint project to raise awareness of the Four Freedoms ideals, So gladly agreed to participate. She believes that it is worthwhile to re-examine the implications of FDR’s ideas for the world today.
As an artist born and bred in Hong Kong, a city that used to be a British colony before 1997 and is now part of the People’s Republic of China under a unique “One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement that is still evolving, So feels that FDR’s ideas of more than seventy years ago are equally relevant to those living in the city today.
“I have always felt grateful for the privilege of growing up in an open-minded and free society like Hong Kong. We have seen too often how political super-institutions and ruling governments could be tempted to silence oppositions and criticisms, bend the meaning of “public interests” to suit their needs, and use brutal force to advance their agenda,” she said. “It always seems that we are just one step away from losing our freedoms if we are not mindful. Here in Hong Kong, I sense that we are already experiencingsome fall off from what it used to be.”
A key characteristic of So’s works is the juxtaposition of realistic and abstract elements in an imaginary space. Meanings are often not immediately apparent, and much room is allowed for imagination as well as individual interpretation. This is also true of her paintings for the Four Freedoms Project. Describing her creative process, So explained, “I rely on the technique of free associations and stream of consciousness, allowing my collective reflection to flow freely.” Her wish is that viewers can construct and re-construct their own understanding and emotional response. “I consider this a form of internal dialogue, an interactive exchange of reflection,” she expounded.
Instead of attempting to depict the Four Freedoms, So chose to call her series “In Search of the Four Freedoms”. In response to each of the freedoms, she included a textual answer in the works as subtitles. For “Freedom of Speech”, it is “Cogito ergo sum” in Latin, or “I think therefore I am” in English. For “Freedom of Religion”, it is “Fidei defensor”, which means” Defender of faith”. For Freedom from Want, the reply is “inveniet quad quisque velit”, or “Each shall find what he desires”. And finally for “Freedom from Fear”, it is echoed with the words “Audemus jura nostra defendere”, which means “We dare to defend our rights”.
The four works are all painted on wood panels and each is a triptych, reminiscent of Medieval church altarpieces. So said that she chose this format “to show respect for the embodied messages and pay tribute to those who have made sacrifices in the process of pursuing such freedoms.”