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Cheng Ting Ting explores the expectations placed on children in contemporary society
Cheng Ting Ting, Where are Our Ears?, 2017. Oil on canvas, 120 x 150 cm. Courtesy of the artist and the K11 Art Foundation.

HONG KONG.- The K11 Art Foundation is presenting Enfante, a solo exhibition of local artist Cheng Ting Ting, which continues the artist’s ongoing exploration of quotidian life in the city. Derived from her experiences as a children’s art instructor, she reflects on the prevalent attitudes towards education and creativity in Hong Kong. One of the few female local artists who uses paint as her primary medium, the exhibition also showcases a new body of work, including projections, intaglio prints, and an art book, alongside her celebrated oil on canvas works. Concurrently, a performative element is being presented, where the artist creates a set of paintings on-site. Curated by André Chan, Enfante is being presented at chi art space, Central from 28 June – 4 August 2017.

Enfante is anchored in Cheng’s reactions and responses to her experience as a youth art instructor in Hong Kong. Her dynamic canvases depict brightly coloured scenes of children creating, learning and playing. Rendered in neon and pastel greens, pinks, magentas and cheery blues, her subjects appear engaged and excited in the learning process. However the bright colours belie an ongoing social debate, about attitudes towards learning, and the expectations placed on children from a young age.

In her dual role as an art educator and artist, Cheng has observed in her students a willingness to learn and experiment. It fascinated her that, even when her pupils were presented with the same set of learning objectives, the outcomes were visually diverse. Some children would fulfill the instructions and excel with ease, whilst others required further guidance or chose to completely disregard instruction. This very disparity was a vantage point for society to scrutinise and compare each child. Embracing this diversity, Cheng seeks to find the beauty and wonderment in the naiveté as well as differences that set each of her students apart.

Primarily a painter, Cheng has made a breakthrough, and is presenting works across mediums, including projections and prints. In her art book, Cheng amasses and collects rare works created by her young self, referencing a stamp collection book format, the assemblage is a reflection of her own artistic journey.

Extending from her classroom observations, Cheng reflects on her personal experiences growing up in the urban context, where memories of hazy fun are lost in a narrative of a hurried childhood. Enfante invites the audience to stop and reflect on their own values, beliefs and aspirations for the next generation.

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