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  1. Three large Chinese characters painted in gold over the entrance declare that the shrine of Chao Mae Thap Thim in central Bangkok is the “Palace of the Queen of Heaven”. The sea goddess Mazu, to whom the temple’s name refers, is believed to inhabit the premises, but that may not be true for much longer. Also known to locals as A-Ma – mother or grandma in Chinese – the deity does not seem keen on having her place of worship moved from its current location in a gravelly expanse that serves as a…
  2. While some museums have had to cancel or postpone long-planned exhibitions because of the coronavirus, organisers of a Van Gogh show in Toronto had a novel idea: offering art lovers a drive-in option.“Of course, because of Covid, we had to think creatively,” said Corey Ross, a co-producer of the exhibition, which was supposed to start in May and was delayed by the pandemic.As Canada’s largest city gradually comes out of lockdown, the show began last week with two viewing areas in a huge Toronto…
  3. US President Donald Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, has written a book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. It is set to be published on July 14.Publisher Simon & Schuster said the book would be a “revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him”.Mary Trump is known to have been on bad terms with her uncle Donald for at least 20 years, ever since they were involved in a public legal battle against each other. She…
  4. International art gallery Lévy Gorvy opens its new exhibition in Hong Kong this week with a seminal painting by American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.The untitled work was created in 1982, the year when the Brooklyn-born street artist began to gain recognition in the art world with his large canvas paintings. It was also a milestone year that marked a shift for the artist from the streets to the studio.Basquiat was funded with space and proper supplies by his new dealer Annina Nosei, and able to…
  5. Tucked away in a quiet backstreet on Hong Kong Island, the Masjid Ammar and Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic Centre is a world apart from the strip of bars not far away in Wan Chai district.On one side is a tall white tower with a pastel green spire, reminiscent of a minaret. At the entrance an attendant checks the temperature of everyone walking in, because of the coronavirus pandemic.In the foyer, imam Uthman Yang Xing Ben greets worshippers – mostly men and teenagers – in Arabic as they enter…
  6. Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark is well known for his bold visual style and free-ranging approach to storytelling. The wild and vivacious Swordsman III: The East Is Red, the final part of his highly successful Swordsman trilogy, takes both of these qualities to extremes.Visually, the 1993 film is an explosive assault of colour, noise, martial arts and action that mixes Spanish galleons and Japanese ninjas with more typical examples of Tsui’s “mythical China”. Imagination is not lacking, even if…
  7. Paralympic gold medallist fencer Alison Yu Chui-yee focused on the positives when the coronavirus pandemic closed the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI), where she had been training for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, which have since been postponed until next year.“When the HKSI closed and I had to train at home, I saw it as a time to relax,” says the 36-year-old, who was boarding at the HKSI on weekdays as she prepared for her fifth Paralympic Games. “It was like an unexpected holiday, which gave…
  8. Paintings by a Canadian artist who killed himself at the age of 35 in October are setting records this auction season.At his New York solo debut two years ago, Matthew Wong’s new works sold for US$22,000. When one of those canvases returned to the market on Monday at auction house Sotheby’s, it fetched US$1.5 million excluding fees, with 59 registered bidders from 16 countries in pursuit.More works are hitting the block: auction house Phillips is offering a painting and a watercolour by Wong on…
  9. Cartoonist and illustrator Renan Ortiz is one of many Filipino artists to have picked up a pen, pencil or paintbrush in defence of journalist Maria Ressa, who was convicted of “cyber libel” in June and could face a prison term.Ortiz drew a cartoon of Ressa holding a “Defend Press Freedom” poster, and uploaded it to his Instagram account.The conviction of Ressa, the co-founder and chief executive of online news website Rappler, came ahead of the enactment of a much feared anti-terrorism bill in…
  10. Ruohan Wang, one of the best-known illustrators in Berlin, is every bit as colourful and playful as her works of art. In her Berlin atelier, which overlooks the field of a local jail, she is clad in a green flowered shirt, striped tracksuit and white designer cap.Working on her pieces, she occasionally grabs her yellow phone, which she keeps tucked in her blue sock, and takes a few selfies to update her Instagram account. Sometimes she will set the scene by posing with an exercise ball, a glass…