Edinburgh Muses

Six Goddesses of the Arts

A word on the sculptures.

These sculptures are a homage to six extraordinary people who have made an enormous contribution to the arts in Edinburgh over many years.

There is an equality amongst these muses so I chose to represent them initially with a common central object – a rice bowl. I chose a rice bowl because I find it a very simple and elegant shape and, being a boy from Hong Kong, the image has great resonance for me. If the iron rice bowl is associated with lifelong provision, then a bronze bowl must surely denote lifelong abundance.

Adjacent to or underneath the bowls I have placed a cloth of gold. Around these I have placed objects which suggest the personality of the muse, or their character, background or outlook. In a sense these are portraits.

Muse with Teabowl

The muse is depicted as a white rice bowl whilst her husband (the sculptor) is depicted as a smaller less consequential tea bowl. The muse is also represented by the seed head of a globe thistle and a tin can that has been repurposed into a vase for flowers. The combination of a love of the natural world and an informal and unpretentious approach to life sum the muse up.

Muse in a Japanese Garden

The muse is depicted as a black rice bowl. I have tried to emphasise her Japanese connection and indeed her aesthetic. The garden contains a scholar’s brush, a moss covered rock and the stump of a tree which I hope resembles Japanese lacquer ware. In reality the stump is a piece of antique Italian red coral to denote the muse’s love of Italy.

Muse with Cat

The muse is depicted as a white rice bowl to symbolise her elegance and wonderfully ethereal quality. Round about her I have placed a cat (perhaps called Sooty?) And a light bulb. The bulb symbolises the muse’s ability to light up a room with her very presence.

Muse with Pomegranate

The muse is depicted as a brown rice bowl. I wanted to suggest practicality, common sense and honesty. But I have also added an apple and a pomegranate to denote fruitfulness and I hope the image has a richly baroque feel to it. There are few people in the world more generous, hospitable, welcoming and kind than this muse.

Muse with Grecian Urn

The muse is depicted as a rice bowl with an antique green patina. Around her are the tools of her trade, books. The muse abounds with knowledge but more so with wit and fun. I have called the piece Muse with Grecian Urn but the urn itself is invisible. Instead are the famous lines from Keats’s ode. They seem to be the most important lines about art ever written.

Muse with Paper Dart

The muse is depicted as a green rice bowl to depict nature. I wanted an image to convey not only the muse’s grasp of the creative process but also her understanding of how frail the paper darts are that carry artist’s dreams. The quote is from WB Yeats’s ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’. There are few poems that describe how artists mutate images until with the light of dawn the fish/woman fades and is seen to be an illusion. Most artist seem obsessed with rediscovering in tangible form fragments of their imagination – the glimmering girl with apple blossom in her hair.

Book to accompany Muses sculptures

Poet Sculptor Muse

This sculpture is about an emotional entanglement that happened over thirty years ago. It was finally resolved to the satisfaction of all. The sculptor and the muse were later married.

Muse with Teabowl through the seasons

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