Out to the World, into the Arts
As the notable historian Thomas Fuller rightly put it, “He that travels far knows much”. This has been Bobo Li’s experience during her four-year stint at The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), where she has expanded her horizons. Bobo is a Year 4 student in the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Creative Arts and Culture (Visual Arts). She has left footprints in different parts of the world, including a two-week study tour in Berlin, Germany, a semester in Worcester, England, a summer internship in St. Petersburg, Russia, and a placement at the Palace Museum in Beijing.
“EdUHK has given me a lot of opportunities, which I previously only dreamt of,” she says. “Last year, I was fortunate enough to secure an internship at a museum in Russia. At first, because of safety concerns, my family opposed the idea. Luckily, my professor stepped in, explained the situation to my family, and convinced them that it would be a beneficial experience for my personal growth. I was so close to missing out on this unforgettable trip!” The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is one of the top museums in the world. Bobo was one of two Asians selected for the internship, working alongside 10 other young people from different cultural backgrounds.
“I arrived in Russia just in time for a festival related to Peter the Great. An educational exhibition was to be held in relation to the festival. Our first task was to design a game for the public to learn about history. I was one of the few interns who could draw, so I was assigned to research fashion styles in the 18th century and illustrate how the styles had changed over time. I was so overwhelmingly happy that I could draw my office hours away,” she said with a bright smile on her face, recalling fond memories in Russia. At the end of the internship, they were allowed to keep their work passes, which could be used as permanent free passes to the museum. Bobo was deeply touched by the museum’s kind gesture. The trip gave her the opportunity to learn about this warm and friendly country; the Russians turned out to be much different from the stern, unsmiling people she once imagined them to be.
In addition to seeing the world, Bobo was able to take her overseas experience home and put it to good use. As an EdUHK student, she has organised a number of community art projects to promote youth development in Hong Kong, interweaving art and community service.
She says that when she was growing up, art was always an important part of her life. To her, art embodies beauty and kindness. It is not only fun, but also thought-provoking. It enlivens days that may otherwise be dull, and elaborates meaning in life that is often downplayed in the mundane concerns of day-to-day encounters.
“I enjoy teamwork,” says Bobo. ‘Since I first learnt about the concept of community art at EdUHK, my interest in it has increased. I am especially grateful for the precious and practical resources EdUHK has provided for me throughout the years, which have allowed me to take my first steps with much more confidence and ease.”
Bobo believes that art transcends language and that it is another form of communication for conveying love and care. Recently, she completed a community art project, in which she gathered 100 students from Tin Shui Wai to create 20 “table football games” for children in Tuen Mun Hospital. She has also been an art advisor for a local primary school, and together with other volunteers, created a “Giant Vending Machine” to promote children’s rights. Other community art projects she has led include the Dream School Project and the Innovative Design Competition, which invited secondary school students and EdUHK education majors to design the school campuses of their dreams.
At EdUHK, she is also a Student Hall Tutor. At the moment, she is organising a fundraising event, called “Love Never Fails”, to promote suicide awareness and raise funds for The Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong. Students were invited to paint on the hall’s walls to enhance community spirit and send forth positive messages. After days of hard work, 10 wall paintings have come alive, conveying the true, the good and the beautiful through vivid colours and expressive brushstrokes.
Everyone has a dream, and Bobo’s is all about art and the greater good. In her words, “My dream is to call on the collective efforts of the public to help people in need through community art projects.”
Approaching the end of her university life, she is better prepared and more ready than ever to devote her artistic energy and talent to community projects and spread the message of love and care through the power of art.