Apprentice Monks 童僧
I am not that interested in the traditional Chinese painting of Buddhist and Toaist figures, but I have painted quite a number of little monks after a trip to Myanmar (Burma).
I visited Myanmar in 2001 as part of my plan to paint a series of children in some Asian countries. During my four-week visit there, I was fascinated by the number of apprentice monks I met so often no matter where I went.
Myanmar is a country of Theravada Buddhism. It is customary for every boy to live in a monastery as an apprentice monk, and also for girls to be nuns in some families, for a period of time. The little monks are taught to recite the Buddhist scripts and to beg alms. People there believe it is essential for boys to be trained in this way. When I was at those monasteries, the large number of little monks made me feel as if I was visiting a school. I was told that most schools were closed at that time, with the exception of some particular ones.
After my visit to Myanmar, I painted several pieces of little monks and put them into my 2001-02 series of Asian Children (“The Young Ones”). Then in 2004, I did a whole series of little monks and launched a small show. Some of them, in their red robes, were depicted like huge boulders as I figured that they would be toughened after their tough training. — Fong So
旅遊緬甸後，我畫了幾張童僧，收錄在2001-02年的孩童系列(「下一代」)內。之後，在2004年，我畫了一個童僧系列，辦了個小型的展覽，名之為「煉」。其中有幾張，我把身披紅袍的童僧畫得有如大石，想象他們通過修煉，他日可成磐石。 ── 方蘇