Brush strokes

A painting that crossed continents to finish. “Chan Lim Family of Artists Interaction Painting” participated by Chan Lim, Alex, Felix, Rolex, Jolex, Ester, Bobbi, Ciara, Geoffrey, Kay, Kyra, Zea & Yona.

In time for the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, another breakthrough exhibition of traditional Chinese arts by the Chan Lim family and students is happening at the Atrium of SM Lanang Premier until September 14. This is the third year that this group of artists has staged an exhibit in Davao.

“It’s an opportunity to share the (Chinese) culture to people of outside of Manila. We go out to the provinces, and share to them,” shared Alex Chan Lim, a member of the Chan Lim and a participating artist himself, when asked what the aim of the art exhibition across the country is.

Opening day of the exhibit

Guests of honor Lisette Marquez, City Tourism Officer, & Asec. Art Boncato, DOT XI Regional Director

The Chan Lim family is one of the few remaining notable Chinese brush painting artists in the country today and has been conducting numerous painting exhibits and seminars, art workshops and on-the-spot painting demonstrations for more than four decades.

Chan Lim beside his Western-themed oil painting.

Alex Lim & one of his impressive artworks on display

For the on-going Davao exhibition dubbed as ‘An Exhibit of Chinese and Western Paintings’ by Chan Lim Family of Artists and Students, the artists will showcase over 200 artworks done in Chinese paintings, oil, ceramic plates, a teapot set and scrolls by 36 artists, which includes one Dabawenya artist—Stella Estremera.

Lone Davao artist exhibit participant, Stella Estremera, artist Chan Lim & Dennis Salvador, Director of the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

One of Stella's art pieces on display

This limited edition Philippine Eagle t-shirt with print designed & signed by the Chan Lim Family of artists  is for sale. The Chan Lim family donated 100 pieces to the Philippine Eagle Foundation. The proceeds of the sale will help fund the foundation's cause to save the National Bird from extinction.

What makes this exhibit unique is the display of Chinese paintings on 10” ceramic plates that are meticulously created for a year – from conceptualization, painting, glazing to baking the artwork. Not to be missed is the delicate set of teapot with six tea cups are featured at the exhibit.

With the patriarch, artist Chan Lim & his hand painted tea set.

Chan Lim's horses on plate.

“What we are doing here specially is to show that art has already evolved. It’s not about painting but thinking of ways of sharing it. What we are trying to do now is change the themes with every exhibit. Before we had the fans, the lanterns, the scrolls, now we have the plates,” said Alex, and added, “Being an artist is not about coming out with new medium every time but new art works. I think for us it’s how to make it more interesting for the people, ‘Uy, pwede pala ito.’ We made it more modern na, easier for people to relate to, easier for people to understand and hoping that one they’ll give it a try.”

A personal favorite
One of my favorite scroll painting by Alex Chan Lim.

The proof is in the pudding (or moon cake in this case), so to speak. The Chinese art exhibitions have stirred up the interest of many in picking up the paintbrush and joining the hosted free workshops, and the number is growing every year. As to how much, Alex’s comment was, “It has grown a lot. Just look at SM Lanang, first time we were here we had 200 plus, second time, 400. Today they are looking at more than 500-600 already (SM confirmed first day attendance was 560 free Chinese painting workshop participants). Not only that, because of what we’re doing, before alam mo ang Chinese New Year puro mga Dragon Dance, Lion Dance, feng-shui, ngayon meron nang cultural activities like painting. Mid-Autumn, dati wala naman yan eh, Dice-dice game lang. Ngayon, there are art activities going on. So I think we are very happy that we influenced a bit of knowledge.”

The free Chinese painting workshop on opening day was participated by 560 people. 

Third exhibition of Chan Lim family artistry in SM Lanang Premier in Davao. AVP for SM Mindanao Operations, Debbie Go, & artist Alex Chan Lim

The interest is present and perhaps it can turn to love, Chinese painting should be nurtured. An art school in the city perhaps? Run by a member of the family? “I think that would be a bit tough because that is not part of our direction. All of us have our own respective jobs,” replied Alex.

Ester Lim by her artwork

A landscape painting by young artist Geoffrey Lim.

Art runs in their veins. Members of the Chan Lim family.

“But are you looking at an institution to promote this art culture, at least tie-up with an art school here in Davao and include Chinese painting in their curriculum?” I asked the artist.

“Yes, we would love to. I think this is one way of ensuring that the art will continue. But it’s not that easy, when you talk about art it’s about skills, it’s not something that you learn over night but through years.

This participating artist, Babyruth Chuaunsu, is also the AVP for SM Southmall Operations. She picked up the brush & started painting 2 years ago under the tutelage of the Chan Lim family. Below is a sample of her artwork on display at the exhibit.

I saved the most important question for last: If any of the people are interested in purchasing any of the artworks here today, is that possible?

“Yes, definitely. I think the aim of the painting group is not really to sell. But if people are interested to purchase our artworks, by all means, all they have to do is get in touch us, with me and I can refer them to the artist,” said Alex.

If the artist agrees to sell, then you can take these wonderful artworks home.

“‘An Exhibit of Chinese and Western Paintings’ by Chan Lim Family of Artists and Students will run until September 14 at the Atrium of SM Lanang Premier.

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Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 07, 2014.