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Chua Ek Kay and the Lotus

The lotus flower outside my gallery bloomed recently. This is the lotus plant that my mother gave me, it has been with me for many years.

Ever since my friendship with Chua Ek Kay I had wanted a lotus plant. Ek Kay frequently spoke about the lotus, how it emerges from the water as buds and comes to full bloom before it drops its petal and leaves a seed pod for regrowth. When the colour of the leaves change from green to brown, Ek Kay referred to this as the "colour of lotus leaves”. Lotus leaves are the greatest challenge to paint because of its ever changing shapes and the need for its stems to be well contrasted. I dug up one of Ek Kay’s works of the Lotus Pond done 2 years before he passed on, it does show that mastery, does it not ?

Poets write about the lotus, artists paint them, the Kwanyin stand on the lotus and children are named after them. Revered by all from Japan to India, the lotus rises above muddy waters without any blemish, symbolising poise and dignity, purity and rebirth.

The gratifying part for me is seeing the seed pod emerging at the end. This plant has been much admired, passersby stop to photograph it; friends have also asked me for lotus seeds. Whenever the Lotus blooms, I think of my old friend. #ChuaEkKay

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