For Jowena Liang, art began as a casual interest she took up in 2018 after her kids went off to college. But she became so passionate about painting, she was attending three or four classes every week and painting almost every day. Last year, her Lotus Beauty in Chaos won a bronze medal at the Chinese Calligraphy and Painting Competition organised by ISF Academy Chinese Culture Centre in Hong Kong, where she’s been based for work since March 2019.
For Liang, who works as a senior director in the financial industry, her hobby has become a way to help the less fortunate and give back to the community. “Being an artist has allowed me to feel more empathy for others; it’s surreal to know that my art brings meaning to others’ lives and I can help effect positive change,” she adds.
Liang’s works feature in Giving HeART, which takes place from now until 16 August 2020. The online charity art exhibition is part of A Magazine’s first anniversary celebrations, and features a collaboration with The Saturday Movement to raise funds for the elderly poor in Singapore affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Sale proceeds from the pieces (less delivery and/or third-party costs and taxes) go fully to The Saturday Movement.
Why was it important for you to be part of Giving HeART?
I started painting three years ago and I always wondered what to do with my works. When I was first approached to contribute my works to help raise funds for charity last year, I was very happy! Now, I’d found more purpose to my art – and a meaningful one at that. I realised the timeline was tight – only after agreeing to take part in Giving HeART – so I tried my best to offer as many pieces as I could. I really appreciate that the organising team was very patient and accommodating [laughs].
The Giving HeART charity exhibition features many paintings of the lotus. What fascinates you about this flower?
I go through phases; I was trying to paint 100 different types of birds but I got distracted by the lotus! This flower carries with it so much meaning; even amid muddy ground, it still grows beautifully with dignity. And there’s an elegance to it even being presented in many different ways. I’ve done it in acrylic, watercolour, Chinese ink… and experimented with different types of rice papers: Chinese, Korean, Japanese… each of which requires different brushes, amount of water and speed of painting to achieve the desired effect.
How do you think your work can help comfort others especially during these troubled times?
I hope my artworks give joy to people who love nature. I know that whenever I look at a nature-inspired artwork, I feel more relaxed. With this little piece of nature at home, I hope it can bring them the same feeling of calm.
What about nature inspires you?
I’m a nature lover. Before I became passionate about painting, I was into photography. I used to go on long walks and stopped to capture photos of flowers. Everything we see in design originates from nature in one form or another. For example, polka dots of ladybirds; stripes, zebras and spots, leopards. Since I started painting, I’ve paid a lot more attention to nature; when you go closer to a plant, for instance, you will notice that every plant has leaves of different tones of green…painting allows me to appreciate such details I’ve never done before.
To help the elderly poor and own one of Jowena Liang’s beautiful abstract paintings, visit Giving HeART here.