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Seated (right to left): Tek Seng (德盛), Wee Phong (惟峰). Standing (right to left): Wee Teng (惟庆), Wee Hao (惟浩).
The idea of a museum or gallery of Asian art for Northumbria University was first broached in June 2016. On behalf of the Foundation, we explained that we could help Northumbria University create such a museum or gallery if space could be found on campus. The Foundation would fund and extend a long term loan of rare and important artifacts from our own private collections. Undoubtedly, some would be presented as gifts to Northumbria University to support such an initiative and encourage others to do the same. Further, we could help Northumbria University secure loans and gifts from our collector friends who share the same collecting passion and similarly understand the need and importance of allowing hitherto unseen works of art to be made available for research, teaching and scholarship purposes. The idea of a museum or gallery on Northumbria's campus was very well received as not only Northumbria students and academic staff could benefit from it but others too.

As for the Foundation, we believe that a museum or gallery can be an interesting way of providing a liberal and broad-based education. In fact, education can be made far more exciting, invigorating and beneficial by such means. The artifacts selected for loan and on display are great works of art and cultural heritage. They celebrate mankind's achievements in the pursuit of art, beauty and excellence. They can illumine the minds of students, academia and visitors. The opportunity to view and study art styles, shapes, patterns, forms and ideas from another culture or civilisation can stimulate greater creativity.

It is the aim of the Foundation to use Asian art to foster better understanding, build warmer relationships and strengthen friendships between the East and West. Art has no barriers, borders or boundaries. It is in fact the universal language or natural expression of the human mind, heart and soul. It is through art that we can all heal, harmonise, bond and unite. The artworks emanating from a different ethnic, religious or cultural background can be just as beautiful and astounding as one's own. The opening of a gallery of Asian art on campus will bring to Northumbria new energy, exciting activities and further academic pursuits. It will also help Newcastle-upon-Tyne to project its image as a vibrant City of Art, Culture & Learning.

At the time of the meeting, the prime concern or obstacle to the creation of a museum or gallery was the lack of space. It was only in the later part of 2017 that the Foundation was informed that space could be made available for a gallery. This was made possible when Northumbria University acquired Sandyford Building.

The Foundation offered 172 artifacts and 8 contemporary western and Chinese paintings for loan to Northumbria. Out of 172, Northumbria selected 43 artifacts for initial display in the Woon Gallery of Asian Art because of space constraints. Northumbria could rotate the artifacts for display by later selecting from the remaining artifacts. The principal criteria in selecting the artifacts included their usefulness for teaching, learning, research, scholarship and for the appreciation of fine and rare Asian art. There are 4 contemporary western paintings selected for display in the adjacent gallery of Northumbria for modern artworks.

This exhibition catalogue is published to mark the official opening on 9th July 2018 of the Woon Gallery of Asian Art. It shows the images of all the artifacts and paintings for loan to Northumbria. The accompanying descriptions are brief and concise as we prefer to use the objects to speak for themselves in respect of their appeal, charm and beauty. The opening of this Gallery is in conjunction with The Great Exhibition of the North which is an important art, cultural and design event for the North of England.

This Gallery is one of the many projects and activities that our Foundation supports at Northumbria University and in the North East community. For the Law School at Northumbria, we give book prizes, bursaries and funds for law interns to go for overseas training-cum-assignment to observe other legal systems and their practices and cases and to give them the opportunity to question and assess what they see, read and observe. Further, we fund the Access To Justice Fund so that penurious clients of the Student Law Centre at Northumbria will not be denied justice or be deprived of their legal rights and remedies if they have just causes. The Fund helps to pay stamp fees, expert fees, traveling costs and others. The exceptional pro bono works of the Student Law Centre won them the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2013. The Foundation continues to give funds and support to law students at Northumbria in the hope of seeing them graduating with a deep sense of justice, a firm belief in the rule of law and possessing the courage, determination and commitment to fight for just and social causes and against injustice.

We love art. We believe that students should receive liberal and broad-based education with art included. Accordingly, we give our support to art. In 2012, we initiated and funded the Woon Foundation Painting & Sculpture Prize as an annual UK national art prize for final-year art university students. It is the biggest art prize for students in the UK with the annual prize money of £40,000. The aim of this Prize is to encourage artistic creation, to strive for artistic excellence and to spot and nurture young talent. The 1st Prize provides the winner with the use of a cosy and spacious studio space in Baltic 39 (a collaboration between Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and Northumbria University), the mentorship and personal guidance by senior academic staff and visiting professional artists, the use of art materials for creation of artworks, paid fees and accommodation.

In addition, we give support and funds to the Conservation of Fine Art at Northumbria to advance their conservation work and research and their teaching and learning programmes. In this connection, the Conservation of Fine Art at Northumbria will work in collaboration with the Woon Gallery of Asian Art and its exhibits together with the Victoria & Albert Museum. There are plans to collaborate with Asian museums, art institutions and universities.

Looking back, we can say that the above came about because in 1978 our brother Wee Teng was offered a place to read law at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Polytechnic (now renamed as Northumbria University) and he later married Christine Storey, a Geordie lass. He remembers his time in Newcastle with fondness and gratitude. Kindness must not be forgotten and to be returned with more kindness. This was the way we were brought up by our beloved parents. Because of this fortuitous link and our parents' teaching, our Foundation gives our full support to Northumbria.

We were taught by our parents to be thrifty; to share, give and help others; and to be fair, upright and compassionate. We are very grateful to our parents for what they did for us and very mindful of what they taught us, particularly to be generous and to do more good for others. Accordingly, we brothers adopt the same spirit and approach for our Foundation's aim, purpose and mission. In ending, we wish to state that we dedicate all the merits of our good deeds and actions to our beloved parents and to honour their memory.

Woon Tek Seng, Woon Wee Phong, Woon Wee Hao and Woon Wee Teng

Directors of Woon Brothers Foundation
Singapore, 2nd June 2018

在诺桑比亚大学设立一间亚洲博物馆或艺术馆的这个概念始于2016年6月。那时我们谨代表基金会表示,假如诺桑比亚大学能在校园内找到合适的空间,我们可以协助校方设立一间博物馆或艺术馆。基金会将出资并且从私人收藏中长期借出一些重要和稀有的藏品供展出。当然,我们或将一些藏品捐赠给诺桑比亚大学以示对这项计划的支持 ,希望也能借此鼓励其他收藏家效仿。此外我们也能协助校方向其他收藏同好商讨有关藏品的借展与捐赠。这些同好都对收藏抱着同样的热忱,也同时了解到分享迄今为止未公褚于世的藏品对教育和学术研究起着一定的重要性。在校园内设立博物馆或艺术馆不只有益于教员和学生,其他社群也同样能获益,所以这个构想受到好评和支持。



在交谈中,建立博物馆或艺术馆的空间成为了最受关注的课题。直至2017年末,校方通知基金会设立艺术馆的位置有了着落。当时诺桑比亚大学购得了桑迪福德大楼 (Sandyford Building)。


为纪念云氏亚洲艺术馆于2018年7月9日的开幕,本基金会出版了这本展览图录。图录收录了所有借给诺桑比亚大学的文物和画作。我们选择以简洁的说明介绍图录里的文物目的是希望能让文物以自身的魅力表达出各自的美感。相得益彰的是艺术馆的开幕选择与北部大展 (Great Exhibition of the North) 同一时间举行,这是北英格兰的一项重要文化、艺术和设计活动。

资助成立艺术馆只是本会给予诺桑比亚大学和英国东北部社群的其中一项活动和项目。我们也颁发书籍奖、助学金及资助诺桑比亚大学法律学院的学生出国考察、了解其他地区的法律制度、程序和个娄处理。这让他们有机会直接询问、评估和分析所见所闻及阅读过和观察到的事件。此外我们也资助了“司法援助金”(Access To Justice Fund),只要事出公正,凡是前来诺桑比亚学生法律咨询中心 (Student Law Centre) 求助的贫困客户,都能得到维护自己权益和寻求相关法律援助的机会。援助金可供缴交印花税、专家沉、交通费等等。学生法律咨询中心所提供的这项公益性法律服务荣获了2013年的女王周年奖。本会将继续给予诺桑比亚大学法律学院的学生这类型的支持,希望学生能对承着对法律应有的正义感、坚信法规并拥有勇气、决心和奉献的精神毕业,为社会事业伸张正义。

我们热爱艺术,坚信学生们应该广乏学习,接受包括艺术在内的通识教育,于是我们提倡与支持艺术发展。2012年起,我们为全英国大学艺术系应届毕业生设立了一年一度的云氏基全绘画与雕塑奖(Woon Foundation Painting & Sculpture Prize)。这是英国国内为学生而设立的最大艺术奖项,年度奖全额为4万英镑。奖项主要在于鼓励艺术创作,不断地在艺术领域上寻求创新和突破,以及发掘和培养这方面的青年人才。首奖得主能使用 Baltic 39(这是波罗的海当代艺术中心和诺桑比亚大学合作开设的一个新艺术文化中心)内既舒适又宽敞的工作室、得到大学高级导师和客座专业艺术家们的亲自指导、使用创作艺术品的材朴、还能得到相关津贴和住宿费。

除此之外,我们也资助诺桑比亚大学的美术作品修复学校,以便学校能在修复研究、教学和学术领域上更进一步, 诺桑比亚大学的美术作品修复学校也会就云氏亚洲艺术馆及其展品上与维多利亚和阿尔伯特博物馆进行合作。我们更计划和其他亚洲博物馆、艺术学院及大学进行交流和合作。

回首这一切,我们可以说这缘分从弟弟惟庆在1978年被纽卡素理工学院(诺桑比亚大学的前身)入取学习法律开始、后未又娶了当地的一名姑娘 Christine Storey 为妻。他带着感恩的心,采情地怀念着他在纽卡斯尔的日子。恩情莫忘,而且更应该加倍回报。也就是因为有了这个巧妙的关系和秉承着我们父毋亲的淳淳教导,于是为了回馈,我们便给予诺桑比亚大学最大的支持。


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