Jan 09 2015

Hong Kong Gallerist and Artist Jenny Pat Dies at 33

by Angela Lam

Gallerist and artist Jenny Pat, who passed away on December 29, 2014. Courtesy Gallery Article, Hong Kong. 

Chinese-Canadian artist, art dealer and television personality Jenny Pat, also known as Fu Lei-lei, passed away in Hong Kong on December 29, 2014, at the age of 33. A memorial service held on the New Year’s Day was attended by immediate family and friends.

Born in Hong Kong, Pat was a granddaughter of modern Chinese ink master Fu Bao-shi and daughter of mathematics professor William Pat and the artist Fu Yixuan. Upon graduation from the University of British Columbia in Canada, with a bachelor of arts degree in art history, Pat joined China Guardian Auctions in Beijing and later Christie’s Hong Kong as a specialist in Asian art. In 2010, she was a key player in the record-breaking sale of her grandfather’s The Song of the Pipa Player (1945), which sold for a little over USD 9 million at Christie’s. Young, graceful and talented, Pat had a recurring role on “Dealers,” a British reality television program on the Discovery Channel, in which antiques and collectables were appraised and valued by experts.

After leaving her position at Christie’s, Pat founded Gallery Article in Hong Kong with Eric Ho, son of modern ink painter He Baili, in 2012. The commercial gallery presents regular exhibitions of Chinese and Western art.

“Down the Rabbit Hole,” a solo exhibition of Pat’s colorful and fantastical paintings, is currently on view at Triumph Art Space in Beijing. Among the exhibited works are Imaginary Good Friends 1 (2013), which depicts vibrant comical faces, and It’s Raining (2014), which portrays numerous opened umbrellas—perhaps referring to the recent political protests calling for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. A smaller version of the show, under the same exhibition title, was held at Gallery Article on May 2014.

In an interview with Chinese art publication Hi-Art, published just days before her sudden death, Pat said she had found painting to be therapeutic ever since her earliest forays into the practice as a child. “Through painting, I [am reliving] my childhood once again . . . Everyone says my paintings are child art. I say, ‘Yes, because I am a child when I am painting.’”

The Chinese art scene has lost an emerging artist and a gifted connoisseur.

A solo exhibition of paintings by Jenny Pat, “Down the Rabbit Hole,” is on view at Triumph Art Space in Beijing until January 20, 2015. 

Angela Lam is a writer and Chinese translation proofreader at ArtAsiaPacific.