Art Form Bears Cultural Lesson
Choey leads a dance lesson.
By Liz Goff
Chinese artist Kwak Kay Choey left his mark on a group of Queens elementary school children April 19 when he instructed them in the fine art of Chinese Calligraphy at a program sponsored by the Queens Council on The Arts.
In Part III of the QCA program, “Children’s Introduction to American Immigration,” Choey used various brushes to guide more than 25 young participants on how to create “flow” in the design of calligraphy.
The youngsters worked intently as Choey instructed them in the use of brushes made from bamboo sticks, “moved across paper,” to create letters, leaves and symbols.
The children worked to background music provided by Choey “as inspiration,” and to create a calm atmosphere, the artist said.
Each of the children completed six pieces of calligraphy, which they packaged for the trip home under Choey’s watchful eye.
Choey played a variety of music on several different instruments – “songs familiar to children,” throughout the two-hour program.
Kwak Kay Choey explains the relevance of calligraphy.
During a demonstration of Chinese music that followed the calligraphy lesson, Choey gave each child a tambourine to play, “to join in the music,” he said. The youngsters sang, danced and played along on key, according to Choey’s direction.
An exuberant 9-year-old boy, completely caught up in the music, played on after the music ended. “This is so cool,” he shouted.
Next on Choey’s list was a demonstration of Tai Chi.
Choey demonstrated his moves to the kids and instructed them on how to safely practice the art.
Throughout the program, Choey explained the importance of calligraphy, music and the martial arts. He explained how and why calligraphy as an art, music and the martial arts are important factors in Chinese cultural heritage.
Each is a piece of Chinese culture – brought to the United States by generations of immigrant families who blended them into the arts and culture of America, the artist said.