PHUKET: Having enjoyed a tour of the newly refurbished Angsana Laguna Phuket resort it was suggested to me by General Manager Jerry John, with a certain degree of pride, that the Kids Club was worthy of particular attention.
While on holidays, every parent appreciates facilities for their children that provide entertainment, and are secure and well attended. Angsana’s Kids Club subscribes to these fundamentals, but goes a country mile beyond to give their young guests a wealth of experiences within safe surrounds.
Apart from the solid climbing structures on cushioned flooring, the hi-tech interior with interactive gaming, library and a restaurant dedicated to kids cuisine, a unique aspect to the gated club is the art center.
Walking into the colorful environment we are greeted by Australian artist Christopher Hogan who extends a paint-blotted hand of vibrant colors matched by those awash his apron.
Christopher is a world-renowned artist recognized for his unique abstract paintings and has also been Artist-in-Residence at the Laguna Phuket Summer Family Festivals, where he staged art classes for local schoolchildren and helped raise thousands of baht for Laguna Phuket’s community programs.
Currently he holds court over the artistic development of children visiting Angsana with their parents, and, truth be told, many of the parents as well.
Unlike an art room where children are left to splash and splatter, there is a distinct atmosphere of focus amongst the young artists, interrupted only by the odd request for more paint, another brush or subtle approval for their work in progress.
Rather than offering a class that puts in a few hours for kids, Christopher has a wonderful ability to communicate concepts and the joy of producing a work of art of which the children can be genuinely proud.
It is this skill, coupled with the artistic talent that Christopher sees in local children, which has driven a collaboration between him and Angsana to produce a large mural which, with hands-on involvement from the public, will generate funds to support school and university art scholarships for Thai youngsters.
“This scholarship could help offer a career in fields such as painting, sculpture, graphic design and interior design, and ultimately could work toward gaining employment within the organization mentoring these selected children,” said Christopher.
“With my numerous visits to Thailand and, in particular, Phuket, I have taught my art enrichment program at several local schools and many of the children have responded very well to my style of teaching,” Christopher added.
“My involvement has expanded over the past two years, with my visits to the schools to conduct art classes in contemporary abstract painting. I teach them a new way of ‘seeing’,” Christopher explained.
Christopher’s work with the resort’s corporate and social responsibility (CSR) objectives is part of a combined effort to gather resources so that the work continues to benefit both the children and the community.
“I am finding more and more that the enthusiasm of these local children is rewarding them with producing some excellent examples of artwork with just a few lessons, so I can only imagine what heights we can achieve with a dedicated program in the arts for these young people,” he said.
The 14 square meter mural, which when completed will feature in the resort’s lobby, is divided into 350 individual tiles, and each one bought will then be painted under the guidance of Christopher to then be added to the mural as a finished art piece.
“I am excited by the prospect that we can make a difference to their lives by furthering their education and encouraging more awareness of contemporary art and design as a career for children. This would benefit the greater Thai community. My Angsana mural design for this project is a great start to commence a campaign such as this,” said the amiable Australian.
— Neil Quail
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