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The Gathering
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
2021, 35.4'' (diameter)
Acrylic on Canvas

The Gathering is an anthology of Chinese mythological creatures as they move around the natural environment. In Chinese tradition, nature is composed of five elements called the Wu Xing: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Gathered around Wu Xing are the ten mythical creatures. This work depicts the peace and harmony among the Earth’s living and the non-living components. And in the middle of them all, is the faithful woman, hoping for nature’s wondrous fortune.

With ferocity, the dragon is the head of the ten beasts. The phoenix is the mightiest of the winged creatures. The hooved Kirin and the mighty elephant symbolise peace and prosperity. Longevity is guided by the turtle. The celestial crane embodies elegance and attracts favours. While the brave troops, toad, bat and fish bring forth different forms of wealth and fortune. These brightly-coloured beasts revolve around the woman in the painting as if discussing how to provide her with the most auspicious fortune. Similar to practice, the painting requires one to look carefully to see them. As the beasts move through the five elements, they provide the woman with peace and harmony – within and without. As powerful as the beasts are, the Narcissus and Osmanthus flowers influence favours to devotees. The Narcissus symbolises affection among family and friends. The Osmanthus, on the other hand, blooms around the Chinese National Day—epitomising good fortune.

The woman, with her eyes closed and her hands, joined together, personifies Chinese faith and fortune. She is surrounded by the overwhelming beasts, but she remains at peace. She does not let them consume her, but she reveres them for their auspicious nature. The Gathering shows elaborate details to bring the beasts to life. Despite the use of numerous colours, each hue is carefully chosen to mirror the same peace and harmony.