#NL2B 2015 Liverpool: Enter the Dragon + Freedom Art #Umbrellas for Chinese New Year
On the 19th Feb 2015, we celebrated the first day of Chinese New Year of the Ram with an intimate evening and took the opportunity to host this year’s #NL2B 2015 Nothing Left2Burn a bit earlier since the section of #NL2B 2014 scheduled inside the Bombed out church was cancelled because of the weather last year.
There are a number of things we would like to Highlight about this year’s “Nothing Left2Burn” NL2B 2015:
The Venue: Bombed Out Church Liverpool was endorsed by Paul Sir McCartney in 2014
Before we begin, we would like to commend Ambrose Reynolds on his work as the Venue Curator of the newly revamped St. Lukes. It was a difficult year for the Bombed Out Church during 2014. It was the subject of a great deal of media attention.
As Cecilia boarded her plane from Florence Italy in March 2014, she received a message that almost 25,000 concerned individuals had signed a petition to “Save the Bombed out church” from potentially being sold as a Boutique Wedding Venue to private investors. The events that unfolded subsequently was a media whirlwind spanning many continents and most of it occurred via Social Media.
Many from Liverpool volunteered to support Urban Strawberry Lunch, below are some of the newspaper articles covering the issue:
Quote from the website of Sir Paul McCartney : “The people of Liverpool should do everything possible to keep this venue open for the use of the people and run by the people. It is a place that is regularly staffed by students from LIPA and every-day people of all ages, religions and backgrounds. It would be a terrible shame if we lost this cultural icon.” The singer joins the likes of Yoko Ono in lending support to the cause.
With the Stars and Citizens Power that gathered to protect the beloved Historic Venue, a year later during #NL2B , it was finally confirmed that in 2015, works will begin to preserve the historic building. St. Lukes will be maintained as an artist-led venue to promote creative freedoms locally and internationally. ( 150K Preservation of Bombed Out Church )
So it is with a great sense of relief that Cecilia and Ambrose talked about the future of the Bombed out church as we brought in Chinese New Year of the Ram in 2015. The next day after our #NL2B Chinese New Year art event and celebration, Ambrose made the announcement with the BBC by radio.
Everyone can still support the Preservation of Bombed out Church by Crowdfunder:
The Art Installation is a tribute to the spirit of “Freedom” by Kel1st and Yu
Kel1st and Yu, along with the venue’s curator Ambrose Reynolds created the concept for the 38 calligraphy-graffiti fusion umbrellas titled: “Freedom” art installation.
The 38 calli-graffiti fusion umbrellas for the installation were set amidst a plethora of red lanterns, flags of countries around the world that celebrated Lunar New year and an array of lights. It looked brilliant against the Gothic Walls and Windows of the Bombed out Church!
Rough Sketch concepted via New Media, Kel1st and Yu, #NL2B 2015
It was also challenging in 2014 for the artists involved in Kel1st an Yu. There was a lot of focus on recovering from injuries and this created a period of estrangement creatively. But we are in complete agreement when we say, “We believe in Freedom; creative and personal freedom…”
During Hong Kong Pro-democracy protest, a 15 yrs old girl was arrested as a vandal for drawing a flower and an umbrella with chalk on the “John Lennon Wall” in Admiralty, Hong Kong, 2014
As part of our commitment to the ethos of iProtest arts, Kel1st and Yu will be working actively with an Eco-Green recycling and Solar technology education project in India (Sacred Earth Trust who recently received some match funding from UNDP United Nations Development Programme) to create a Recycling Center and Solar Computer e-Learning centers in 2015. It is projected that by 2016-2017, we will create about 10 Girl Child education scholarships. We believe in creating Sustainable cultural and educational opportunities and we do not support those in the arts, especially in graffiti, who seek to highlight a particular cause for their own fame without due research to the difficulties encountered by youths in war-torn areas.
We believe in careful and strategic work within local communities in a genuinely sustainable way. Often by merely using “sensationalist headlines” without a true understanding of long term cultural, social and geo-political problems at hand, a celebrity can risk causing more harm to the causes they seek to help by allowing irresponsible PR “playing catchwords bingo” to name-drop inappropriately. That is a frivilous way of dealing with people in desperate poverty and crisis!
****So we are very respectful and appreciative of those who use their fame for Sustainable projects by “Giving Culture. Giving Education and Giving Opportunities.” free from political or other image development agendas.
“The Life of Bruce Lee” and “Enter the Dragon” were the features at the Open Air Cinema
The trailer to the movie was the black and white Bruce Lee documentary. The way the images of Bruce Lee and scenes from “Enter the Dragon” interacted with the art installation “Freedom” were surprising and delightful to many who saw it. The light interlaced with the artistic images on the screen in a very special way. Local Photographers came to take photos of the special Chinese New Year Event at the Bombed Out Church and we would love to feature some of the pictures in a formal exhibition in the future. Thank you for your appreciation and support.
The screening was especially meaningful because of the close ties between the art installation of 2015 and the cinematic art from decades ago, via a sense of continuity between the artists who were all from the special city of Hong Kong. In this respect, we truly understand why those who came out of Liverpool were so ready to defend the potential sale of St. Luke’s. There are many parallels drawn to the loyalty those in the Graffiti Art scene feel for New York as the birthplace of this particular genre of modern art.
Liverpool is host to the oldest Chinatown in the world (利物浦 唐人街 Chinese people in Liverpool dates back to 1834 ) so it is a place of historic and cultural resonance for “Enter the Dragon” (the iconic “category killer” of martial arts films) and an honor for “Freedom” art installation (Alluding to Democratic Freedom protest in Hong Kong) to appear during Chinese New Year Celebration of 2015.
This installation had personal meaning for Cecilia.W.Yu because her Great-Uncle Mr.Shek Kin was the actor who played Mr.Han opposite Mr.Bruce.Lee, so there was a special sense of creative continuity. Like Mr.Lee’s work, as Kel1st and Yu, we are choosing to explore creative East-West fusion that transcends class-based cultural boundaries.
As Mr.Shek Kin always said in many interviews,”It takes an education to play the common street thugs on screen because one must understand the life circumstances that brought people to such actions. That is not an apology for bad actions but it goes to the depth of the acting skills.”
The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts LIPA was founded by Sir Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty . There is also a LIPA Open Free School to provide education for future creative innovators. Because of the New York Graffiti based Art partnership between Kel1st and Yu, we were genuinely entertained and moved by the story that LIPA was inspired by the New York High School for the Performing Arts in the movie “Fame“.
It feels like we are all in the same creative global family, that the underground culture in New York (instrumental to the plot of Fame), became an inspiration for a performing school co-founded by a member of the Beatles which decades later, had its young volunteers, participate in an Art installation co-concepted by the very artist whose life embodied the art/cultural ethos that defined “Fame” in New York.
Randy Rodriguez (Kel1st), one of the 1st child-star of NYC graffiti, could certainly identify with the themes in the movie that imitated his and his peers’ lives. He remembered the social and personal obstacles he overcame in the meeting where he presented his art portfolio to Parson Design school’s Admissions panel and he was told,”We do not do this type of art here, young man.”
His response was: “I am willing to learn new things. How about this? You kick me out if I fail any of my first year classes?”
Interestingly, Cecilia remembered being told off for using spray cans in her study room at home, as her traditional chinese calligraphy roots meant that there were fears of stylistic bad habits from her private art tutor. So all she could do was watch re-runs of Fame on TV as a child and thought,”I will try this when I get older.”
Through hours of discussion with Kel1st, Cecilia was told in no unequivocal terms that part of the reason why he was able to transcend class/race based limitations to break through with his art and go on to study at Parson’s Design school was because he saw a hero and a role-model in the creative works of Mr.Bruce.Lee. Hong Kong Cinema challenged many racial stereotypes against Asians, further more “Enter the Dragon” promoted de-segregation and civil rights movements in the USA.
#NL2B Nothing Left2Burn would not exist without Cecilia’s connection to those who are part of the Liverpool-sounds and instrumental in the Punk movement. Again in a cyclical synergy, the first #NL2B was arranged in order to honor posthumously the lifetime cinematic contribution of Ms. Eva.Monley who was Cecilia’s creative mentor for over a decade and a close friend of the Director of “Enter the Dragon” Mr.Robert.Clouse.
As Ambrose repeated,”We are all ONE creative family whether we accept it or not.”
As artists, our creative lives can often be more serendipitous than any fictional movie and these are things that cannot be copied, plagiarised or imitated. When we are all respectful of the higher callings of our arts, many events can feel like PURE Creative Karmic Synergy!
So our thanks go to the volunteers from LIPA, their names are:
Ashley True, Nicole Robinson and Ann-Marie Stearn !
May the creative arts force be with you all in your future as artists and thank you for helping us execute “Freedom” from a mere sketch created from the brain-waves of Kel1st and Yu telephone chats to a physical artistic reality that many photographed and enjoyed !
We want to thank the Sifu and his school at Hung Gar Martial Arts school in Liverpool for performing the incredible Dragon dance with the 2 dancing Lions at the end of the screening of “Enter the Dragon”.
As it was an “Enter the dragon” movie night, we were very happy that the Sifu from the local Hung Gar Martial Arts school led the dances in Liverpool. It is very nice to see the White Lion in action again. Those who are knowledgeable about special Martial arts symbolism will know the White Lion is the symbol of Wisdom Lion and reserved for the use of schools that have an established Martial Arts Master as a founder.
Cecilia’s youth in Hong Kong was spent watching the special white lion dancers and also the playful “young” Northern lion dance at Po Leung Kuk ( 保良局 ) fundraisers that were televised live on TVB to help the poor and the vulnerable in Hong Kong society.
In expressing our appreciation for the effort made by the dancers, we should promote an understanding of the traditional symbols in the Lions dances.
Upon his retirement from the stage, Mr.Shek.Kin went on to become a grandmaster of the Northern Shaolin style of Kung Fu, which is symbolised by the Black Dancing Lion, whereas Hung Gar (Hung Ga ) martial arts is a southern Shaolin Martial arts school mastered by the heroic legendary character Wong Fei-Hung sifu. Again in true creative synergy, Mr.Shek Kin’s stage career was iconised by his role opposite his colleague Mr Kwan Tak-hing who first brought the sifu Wong fei-hung to life on screen! Together they defined a generations’ understanding of North and South Shaolin Martial Arts in Black and White Hong Kong cinema, which inspired Mr.Bruce.Lee to become a martial artist and an actor!
This Black/White footage of the 1957 Lion Dance Martial Arts staged fight in-line with the plot of the movie, by Mr Shek Kin and Mr Kwan Tak-hing were amongst the first to display Shaolin martial arts on screen!
It was an honor to see the tribute to the Southern And Northern Shaolin Lions, united on stage performed by Western students in the oldest Chinatown in the world, Liverpool! We were touched by that because Mr.Bruce Lee’s ambition, as he discussed in many public interview, was to make martial arts accessible to everyone regardless of race or culture.
Again the Creative Karmic Synergy is at once moving and extremely humbling!
This is what venue Curator Ambrose Reynolds described as,”The Church’s energy has a way of moving all of us into our right part at the right time and place!”
Yes, it does!
The classic Chinese Calligraphy of Ms. Audrey Eu was part of the projected Art of #NL2B 2015 (Nothing Left to Burn ) with a message of encouragement to those who participated in the peaceful Umbrella protest of Hong Kong in 2014.
During the closing of the evening, the Calligraphy by Audrey Eu ( 余若薇) was projected on the screen during parts of the Dragon Parade and Lions Dances.
We wanted to take this opportunity to introduce the 雨傘援助基金 Umbrella Relief Fund since iProtest Arts #NL2B was created to support the creative free speech for all global citizens. For those who experienced difficulties during the Hong Kong Umbrella Protest of 2014, this is the link to the forms to fill in to apply for Relief funds:
The purpose of setting up “THE UMBRELLA RELIEF FUND” is to provide financial relief to those who had participated in “The Umbrella Movement” and suffered losses and damages.
At the end of NL2B 2015, the following messages with Ms.Audrey Eu were exchanged:
” Dear Audrey, thanks for the use of your classic calligraphy. I used it because I enjoyed your Structural Aesthetic integrity in the Classic Chinese Grid. My classic form remains something my Grandfather Yu used to just laugh at in Hong Kong 🙂 Painting was always my area…not the grids. 🙂 C “
” Thank you for sending me the pictures. Congrats on a successful show and event. It is my privilege to become a part of it
Overall We would say it was a wonderful and creatively synergistic way to Bring in the Chinese New Year of the Ram !
Happy Chinese new year and this is what we did for #NL2B Nothing Left to Burn at the Bombed Out Church 2015 !
Cecilia is a Hong Kong Chinese-Australian Social Entreprneur, Artist, Directors of NGO in Africa, South Ameria, Asia and California who really really likes to "tell it how it is", having travelled to over 40 countries around the world & seen some interesting things every so often.
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