HKAPA Annual Report 2008-2009 - page 11

When Roosevelt created WPA, Work Progress
Administration, the unemployed and artists were hired
to rebuild the very fabric of society. They built schools,
libraries, roads and bridges. They reinvested and it took
some of the most vulnerable and gave them back their
lives by restoring their self-esteem, their dignity and
purpose, their sense of well being.
Theirs were not simply hired hands but had an overriding
sense of purpose, like the medieval tale of a wayfarer
chancing upon three stonemasons. Each stonemason in
turn was asked what he was doing: the first replied, ‘I
am cutting stone.’ The second, ‘completing a wall.’ The
third, looked up, physically and spiritually, and replied,
‘I am building a cathedral.’
Whilst I’ve heard the same story appropriated to 11th
Century Exeter, and 20thCenturyCoventryCathedrals,what
matters is that people given a purpose, and for some a
chance to redeem their lives, find through their own hands
and endeavour, meaning and sense of accomplishment,
certainly, but more importantly a new basis of living,
no longer worried whether the Greek fates are going to
destroy them. Authenticity comes from recovery projects
people believe in and can see an overriding purpose
and a centrality to their lives. The moment where one’s
self-esteem changes, one’s life changes.
The Hong Kong Government in making available a
landmark and potentially iconic site and one open to the
entire community, is exciting in itself. What is planned
is wholesale, integrated and vast, not some cosmetic
makeover - but rather something of global potential.
Given a guarantee of high quality, and a warranty of
genuiness of intention, collective belief in the significance
and value of arts and culture not only for the here and
now, and for today’s generation, but also for tomorrow’s
world, is fundamental.
Played well, WKCD helps us to position Hong Kong for
an arts and cultural renaissance, to help turn our cultural
world - if not upside down - then, perhaps, to right it,
to balance it with quality of life essentials. Informing the
lives of millions of people from kindergarten to third age,
it could radically change ways we might look at lives
too often governed by the frenzied, non-stop treadmill.
But the project is like going to the moon. You have to
want to do it, and that requires vision, and an act of
leadership not only from the CEO, but also from the
Authority itself to implement the vision. That needs to
happen with alacrity.
We must imagine what the future will hold. WCKD
should dare to open minds to the opportunities change
brings. And seize those opportunities for the people of
Hong Kong.
These are brave new times, times to dare, venture and
experiment. A signal moment in the history of Hong
Kong. So let us be adventurous. But most of all, let us be
confident that we do live in place of talent, opportunity,
enterprise, bankers included.
Arts and culture are in reality not somuch about themselves,
only in the rarest moments were they ever about arts
and culture
per se
, they are about practically everything
else under the sun, the world about us, tangible stuff,
tangible inheritance, not simply the intangible.
Academy Director Professor Kevin Thompson
(photo by Herman Chan)
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