• Kriss Wong and the Yurt at Arts Can Do Yun Nan

    Arts Can Do will be taking international artist volunteers to be part of the program in Yun Nan starting in September, held at the Jiu Qian Volunteer Centre there.

    International artists cause quite stir in remote rural China and the publicity is certainly good for our program. Their real importance is not simply the interest they create in our projects but the impact of totally new ideas and ways of teaching and seeing the world that they bring to the children.

    Art is proving to be not only therapy for deprived children but a real inspiration and builder of confidence and self respect. Time and again we see children blossom in our classes, in ways not before possible for children who have never had the opportunity to create art before, let alone have it valued and appreciated by adults from around the world.

    Kriss Wong will be our first Yunnan residency artist volunteering at new Yunnan Arts Can Do centre. Kriss is a Maylasia based self-taught visual artist. Her artistic expressions are related to contemporary social, cultural and environmental issues through videography, photography, drawings and a variety of mediums. She has worked for non-governmental organizations, written freelance for travel magazines, taught arts to children, worked as visual artist at music festivals. Traveling plays an important part in her artistic expressions because she is very much inspired by new experiences and new encounters through cross- cultural exchanges.

    In 2010, she teamed up with No Space Gallery and Bangkok Art House to organize a touring film event called "Film Freaks" in Bangkok. The film event also served as a platform for aspiring filmmakers, video artists to showcase their short films and videos to the public. She sees her involvement in children art education from 2010 to 2012 as an important contribution to her artistic practice. Teaching art gave her the opportunity to explore different techniques and teaching methods.

    In 2012, she also worked as a visual artist at numerous music festivals including Lush Bangkok Music Festival, Culture One Bangkok International Dance Music Festival and Stonefree Music Festival. In 2013, she produced a video for George Town Festival. Again she was appointed as the visual artist at Lush Limited Edition held at Hotel Muse, Bangkok.Last year she held residencies at The Overstay (Bangkok) and Hotel Penaga ( Penang).

    At Arts Can Do in Yunnan Kriss aims to involve the children in the construction of an Art Yurt. A temporary outdoor structure based on the traditional yurt structure of central Asia.

    The purpose of getting the children involved in this project is to create a non-classroom environment where children have the opportunity to interect with each other and engage in mobility. The project is also to emphasize on the practicality of arts in daily life. The roof and walls of the yurt will made of fabric which the children will decorate and display their art work.

    The children will help to coat the outer wall and inner wall with paint using paint rollers. They will be taught to stencil tribal patterns and flower patterns on the outer wall of the yurt and help to cut cotton strips which will be used as flaps for the inner wall of the yurt. Older children will assist insert wires into the flaps to create the latticework frame of the yurt. They children will also involved in assembling the yurt. Once the yurt is completed Kriss will work with the children to create texture prints on paper, to tie the fabrics and to become involved in documenting their lives.

    Arts Can Do programs in remote villages provide vital encouragement and confidence building for children left behind with only elderly relatives as family when parents leave for work in the cities. All too often the children regress into mental isolation unable to take advantage of the often very meagre educational opportunities available. Making art has been shown to reawaken these closed minds.