MELBOURNE.- Moon in Reflection includes over 30 of Trams paintings and calligraphies from the permanent Asian collection and is being held at the NGV during the World Olympics in Beijing, China in 2008.
Kim Hoa Tram (Shen Jinhe in Chinese) was born in Saigon, Vietnam in 1959 to a family originally from Fujian province in China. Kim migrated to Australia in 1984 and is now living in Melbourne. For more than ten years Kim has immersed himself in Zen, a form of Mahayana Buddhism that places emphasis on the practice of meditation to achieve spiritual enlightenment.
In his art, Tram draws inspiration from his spirituality in Zen and from his roots in the Chinese tradition, its art and culture, especially Chinese ink painting and calligraphy. Since 1990, Kim Hoa Tram has held exhibitions in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines, Canada, the United States in Australia
Dr Mae Anna Pang, Curator of Senior Curator Asian Art, NGV said: Moon in Reflection is a journey to spiritual enlightenment and artistic discovery. The paintings and calligraphies in the exhibition show the clarity, simplicity and humour of Zen. In his work, Tram explores the human conditions of birth, old age, sickness and death, all recurring themes in Zen philosophy.
The emergence of Zen as a distinct form of Buddhism was first documented in China in the 7th Century. The aim of Zen is to discover the wisdom within through meditation and mindfulness of daily experiences. Zen practitioners believe that this provides new perspectives and insights on existence, which ultimately lead to enlightenment.
Kim Hoa Tram is painting in the Chinese tradition but has injected it with creativity and originality, artistically and spiritually. With evocative brushstrokes, Kim captures the essence of his images; the essentials are achieved with a great economy of means, said Dr Pang.
A highlight of the exhibition is a set of two paintings, Delusion and Awakening. Each painting consists of four panels that are read right to left in a sequence of events. In these compelling works, a bird motif is used to express the strong human emotion that comes with spiritual awakening.
Dr Gerard Vaughan, Director, NGV said: The NGV has embarked on a program of collecting and exhibiting contemporary Asian art. This ranges from radical experimental art from China, often reflecting a post-pop Western style, to more traditional form of landscape painting, to the work of Australian-based artists born in Asia such as Ah Xian, Gu Wei, John Young or Kim Hoa Tram. Kim Hoa Trams art breathes new life into traditional Chinese visual forms, a contemporary artist inspired by Zen spirituality.