The word ‘souvenir' is taken directly from the French for ‘to remember'. When we travel to foreign lands, we tend to acquire keepsakes as a remembrance or token of our visit. There are countless souvenir items: some people like to collect matchboxes, scenic postcards or keychains and magnets with depictions of famous landmarks, others prefer to buy more authentic items that aren't sold by tourist and gift shops.
September 2018 will see the opening of the third ‘#Art Travellers' exhibition series, which is being presented over three years. Organised by the Art Promotion Office and hosted at Trade and Industry Tower, the exhibition features two local artists, Carol Lee Mei-kuen and Trevor Yeung, who present their own unique travelogues based on what they have collected. Working in different media, Lee and Yeung both take inspiration from a wide variety of exotic plants gathered during their travels and re-express them in personalised artistic forms. Involving botanic observations and discoveries of natural origins, the transformation process creates new artistic idioms and opens up a universal panorama.
Carol Lee Mei-kuen likes to visit historical destinations where she can trace the provenance of culture and observe the natural sequence of events. Picking wild plants along the way, she presses them to retain their shapes in a ‘frozen' frame of time. When put together, the seemingly insignificant elements form an emblem of foreign lands. Trevor Yeung, in contrast, gathers different plant species from around the world. Through horticulture and installations, he juxtaposes the relationship between natural landscapes and cultural ecology, while slowly exposing the growth patterns of the plants under photosynthesis. The geographical differences between various species are thus blurred, giving rise to an unusual bonsai art that resembles a miniature urban greenhouse.