Taking every stroke seriously, she stayed in the abandoned village for almost three months before colouring the village houses. “I left no stone unturned in the search for species mentioned by the villagers. Visualising these species based on mere verbal description is a bit challenging, I want to see what exactly they are.” Unsurprisingly, she also made species popping up subject matters of her murals-in-progress. “Isn’t it like how primitive men recorded what they saw on a cave wall?” she giggled.
Photo: The living creatures painted by Human Ip and a group of primary students
Months of empirical observation has turned into seven murals depicting local stories. Among them is a collaborative project involving Human and a group of primary students, who were brought to a stream nearby by the artist so as to get an idea of the living creatures the little helpers were going to paint. “Getting to know a place through interactive edutainment works well on kids.” The open-air gallery has since aroused public interest and even inspired a local movie. “What a nice surprise it is! I am thrilled that my works have given the general public a window on the unique natural world here,” concluded Human. But the mural art is only a teaser. Do visit the story room or join guided tours to uncover the immense charm of this rural settlement!
Photo: Golden paddy fields, cattle ploughing, and kite-flying used to be common scenes in Mui Tsz Lam. At the back of this cattle is a near 200-year-old lychee tree dubbed “King of Lychee”, which, in its heyday, offered shade for villagers and produced abundant fruits for the entire community.
A joint effort by Human and Wahayeah Sketch Group. The three large butterflies (excluding the blue one on the left) were created by Human, whereas the other motifs were designed and painted by the Group’s artists. The white dragontail featured in the top right-hand corner is rare in Hong Kong.
Nicknamed “The blind old lady” due to its poor eyesight, the greater coucal (right) could be easily preyed on. Human came across three species of migrating birds in the painting process and immediately decided to include them in the artwork: (from left) scarlet minivet, Swinhoe’s white-eye, and Japanese tit. All feathered friends are resting on plum blossoms. Below them are greengage (left) and begonia longifolia, considered rare in town (right).
Local produce of Mui Tsz Lam: (from left) (below) tangerine, myrobalan; (above) Lingnan garcinia, peanut, lychee, starfruit, acorn. Having grown up in a place where snacks were a luxury, clever villagers looked for alternatives. They handpicked wild fruits and gradually became very adept at distinguishing the edible ones.
Mother (front wall) and baby (back wall) masked palm civets. Human made good use of two walls, the only remains of a weathered village house, to create an integrated mural.