Creative Writing | Artists Interview
Art Can Bring About Change - Humchuk, Ku-Sem
Written by CHAN Hiu Tung Ada
Humchuk and Ku-Sem are two familiar faces to Tai Sang Wai villagers as this is the second time they teamed up for the Fishpond Sustainable Art Festival". Keen on papermaking since university, Ku-Sem loves to utilize materials from different plants and feel the different textures. In contrast, Humchuk, a widely recognized illustrator, loves to work on various art forms. " ‘Drawing’ is fascinating as it refers to an art form and an action simultaneously. Apart from paper, there are many other potential media for drawing. For example, you can draw a mould for a 3D artwork." This year, Ku-Sem will produce posters using paper made from different plant fibres from Tai Sang Wai whilst Humchuk will turn the bread crusts for feeding fish into different shapes to let the participants experience the feeding process in a more interesting manner.
Due to the pandemic this year, the participating artists cannot join the residency in Tai Sang Wai as in previous years. Hence, the duo is grateful that they had already established a deep relationship with the villagers by participating in the festival last year. "I had taken up residence in the village for a while. I often had meals and spent time with the villagers, and heard many stories about their lives," Humchuk recounted his experience of last year's festival. Because of the pandemic, the villagers have become more vigilant this year. They would get nervous whenever outsiders with masks show up in the village. Fortunately, the friendships established long ago were not destroyed root and branch by fear. Every time Ku-Sem visited the village, she would receive a lot of care from the villagers, and sometimes even crops. "When you buy food in supermarkets, you don’t necessarily know about its role in nature. Knowing the people who grow crops creates a strong sense of connection between us." Said Ku-Sem.
Thanks to previous festivals, villagers like Auntie Lan and Brother Shing have got used to artists' existence. As a resident artist in this village, Humchuk believes it is his responsibility to tell the villagers what art is. "What I have been doing here is to tell others about the functions of art. Even young people may not know what art is, not to mention the elders. Perhaps the villagers do not know why we are here until now; they will not feel annoyed but curious about us." Every existence has its influence, and this is how the butterfly effect is derived. The experiences and artworks in Tai Sang Wai will, of course, bring an impact on participants. Ku-Sem hopes to evoke public reflection, "Just like crops and hand-made paper, things we took for granted take numerous time and hard work before coming to our hands." Humchuk, on the other hand, does not care about how much impact his artwork creates, "Auntie Lan may notice the fish food in different shapes every time she feeds the fish. Making her daily life more interesting is already a great impact." Every existence brings about change. The two look over the fishponds and look forward to the new possibilities.