Calligraphy for Chinese New Year

I tried Chinese calligraphy for the first time last year during the Chinese New Year celebrations in Newcastle and I’m looking forward to doing it again this weekend.

Artist Jayamini de Silva is holding a drop-in session at Newcastle City Library on Saturday (February 6) to coincide with her exhibition, Brush With Nature.

The collection of beautiful animal-inspired Chinese brush paintings are being shown to mark Chinese New Year 2016 – The Year of the Monkey.

The Chinese brush calligraphy workshop, which takes place on a drop-in basis from 10am to 11.30am, so there’s no need to book, also coincides with National Libraries Day.

The Chinese New Year’s Day is the new moon day on the first lunar month in the Chinese lunar calendar, which this year falls on Monday, February 8.

The Monkey is ninth of the 12 animals in the recurring 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. Each year is also associated with one of the five elements – gold (metal), water, wood, fire and earth.

Both the sign and element of your birth year are said to affect your personality and destiny. Element-sign combinations recur every 60 years and this year’s fire monkey is the first such combination since 1956.

People born in the year of the monkey are witty, intelligent and have a magnetic personality. They are particularly careful about their health, love lives, career, and investments.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the sign and element of my birth year and I’m a water dog, but I wasn’t too keen on the description – “brave and self-centered, even seemingly selfish; well-versed in dealing with financial issues”.

I’m a total coward, certainly not selfish (I hope) and although I handle the day-to-day finances, I leave the big decisions to my husband!

The description of those born in the year of the dog in generally was much nicer – loyal and honest, amiable and kind, cautious and prudent.

I wonder what sign and element Jayamini is?

Born and raised in southern Sri Lanka, she obtained a BFA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, specialising in Chinese traditional painting and calligraphy.

She taught fine arts as a university lecturer in Sri Lanka before moving to Newcastle in 2004 to study at Northumbria University, where she earned her MA in Conservation of Fine Art.

Her artworks are mostly done with ink on rice paper, stone colours on silk and acrylic on canvas.

For more information, visit her website here.

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