Commendable Awards

Junior Secondary

A visual representation of "His t-shirt" by Tammy Ho

HO Cheuk Kiu
Sha Tin Government Secondary School

In the artwork, some clothes, specifically four T-shirts, a vest and a tie, are hung on two clotheslines. While the T-shirts are frequently mentioned in the poem, a vest is added to show the father's age. On top of the clothes items, the interaction between the father and daughter is presented in backlight and shown in a dark colour tone. These scenes presents their close relationship, especially the wedding scene in the middle.

The background colour is orange-yellow as this colour brings the warmth from the father to the canvas and creates a soft tone. Two of the T-shirts are painted in blue and green in order to provide a strong contrast with the background, and thus highlight their significance in the poem. In addition to white and black, orange is also used on the T-shirts to echo with the background. This allows the strokes to be clearly seen. Besides the links between the clothes, the shadows are organised in a tricky way with the edges blended with the background to bring a sharp focus on the shadows. In doing so, the shadows can mingle well with the background and achieve harmony.

His t-shirts

Medium-sized t-shirts on his dark body.
He’s totally Chinese - more so than me.
But in periods when he’s building bridges,
fixing window panes or drilling roads,
I think he’s from Africa.
Yellow skin is black in the sun.
Who said colours are God-given?

Medium-sized t-shirts he has aplenty.
Elated, in countries foreign, we do not forget
at home he’s suppressing his worried lips.
He wants nothing from us, but
we like the idea of giving. And so he’s
wearing t-shirts from London, Thailand,
Auckland, Japan, Finland, India,
Malaysia, Poland, Korea...
‘Where are you from, father?’ We are
teasers. Names of places bold
in English on his chest. He doesn’t know.
‘China,’ he answers. We laugh.
We laugh. Bad daughters.

Medium-sized t-shirts on top of Large
-sized ones in his drawers.
He once stood huge
in front of a snack bar,
buying us coca-colas,
and we cheered.

Tammy Ho

“His t-shirts” was published in hula hooping by Tammy Ho Lai-ming, p.5. Copyrights © 2015 by Chameleon Press.