The Painter The Photographer The Alchemist

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Double Double 2022-11


The Painter. The Photographer. The Alchemist.

A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing Publication

First published in Canada by OCEAN POUNDS

November 2022

ISBN: 978-1-989845-53-0

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Photography, Visual Art, Poetry, Literature, Culture

Authors: Anita Kunz, Holly Lee, Lee Ka-sing

Copyright © Ocean Pounds 2022

Individual Copyrights belong to the Artists and Writers.

All Rights Reserved.

For information about permission to reproduce material

from this book, please write to mail@oceanpounds.com

DOUBLE DOUBLE was published as a weekly webzine

from January 2019 to December 2021. 158 issues were

published. Full archives are available online:


Some issues were re-packaged and published as

print-on-demand paperback editions.

Since January 2022, DOUBLE DOUBLE has become a

monthly publication, released in both paperback (POD)

and ebook versions. POD is available for orders at OCEAN

POUNDS in Toronto or online at BLURB (blurb.com).

The Painter. The Photographer. The Alchemist.

DOUBLE DOUBLE ebook edition is available for read-on-line at

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Design and Editorial by DOUBLE DOUBLE studio


Front cover image: Anita Kunz

End pages: Lee Ka-sing

Some artwork featured in this publication might be available

at OCEAN POUNDS. Inquiry by email: mail@oceanpounds.com


50 Gladstone Avenue, Toronto,

Ontario, Canada M6J 3K6


Lee Ka-sing

Essay on Alchemy

Book 2 (2017)

28 photographs

Anita Kunz

Original Sisters:

Portraits of Tenacity

and Courage

A selection of 50 paintings from a series of portraits

dedicated to women of accomplishments. The book

was published by Random House Canada in 2021,

with a foreword by Roxane Gay.

Ada Blackjack

Hero of the Arctic

Ada Lovelace

The world’s first computer programmer

Adelaide Herrmann

Vaudeville performer dubbed the Queen of Magic

Alice Guy Blache

French cinema pioneer

Angela Davis

Political activist, philosopher and author

Angela Ruiz Robles

Inventor of the mechanical

encyclopedia (precursor to the e-book)

Anna Akhmatova


Anna Mae Aquash

Mi’kmaq activist


The first artists of the human species were likely female

Augusta Savage

Educator, social activist and portrait sculptor

Camille Claudel


Candace Pert

Neuroscientist and pharmacologist

Caroline Earle White

Animal protectionist

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

Astronomer, astrophysicist

Christine Jorgensen

Transgender woman known in the U.S

for her gender reassignment surgery

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

Princess who gave up her wealth to care for the poor, patron saint of the Secular Franciscan Order


Longest-reigning female pharaoh

Hedy Lamarr

Movie star who also invented the frequency hopping technology

Hilma Af Klint

Artist, mystic whose abstract paintings were influenced by spiritualism


Mathematician, astronomer and philosopher

Ida B. Wells

Writer, activist for African Americans equal justice

Irena Sendler

Humanitarian rescuing Jews from WWII

Irna Phillips

Actress and writer for radio and TV who developed the modern soap opera

Jeanne De Clisson

Former noblewoman turned privateer

Jeanne Labrosse

Balloonist, parachutist, and aviation pioneer

Jeffrey Catherine Jones

Transgender woman illustrator and comic

artist in the fantasy art genre

Josephine Baker

Iconic dancer and singer garnering most popularity in Paris

Juliane Koepcke

German Peruvian mammalogist

Lady Mary wortley Montagu

Aristocrat moved to Istanbul and witnessed

the first form of a smallpox vaccine

Lise Meitner

Physicist who contributed to the discovery

of nuclear fission

Elizabeth Magie

Writer and feminist, created the

precursor to the board game


Lorraine Hansberry

Writer, civil right activist

Louise Lecavalier

Dancer and choreographer, an icon in the

world of contemporary dance

Margaret Keane

Painter recognized for her oversized,

doe-like eyes of her subjects

Maria Montessori

Physician, innovator in childhood education

Maria Sibylla Merian

Scientific illustrator and naturalist famous for her

studies of insects

Marie Skłodowska–Curie

Physicist and chemist pioneering research on radioactivity

Maud Wagner

Circus performer and the first female tattoo artist in the United States

Nina Simone

Pianist, singer, songwriter and civil rights activist

Noor Inayat Khan

British spy in WWII, first female wireless

operator to assist the French Resistance

Queen Charlotte

England's first Black queen

Rachel Carson

Marine biologist and author, one of the key

figures in the modern environmental movement

Remedios Varo

Surrealist artist

Ruby Bridges

First African American child in an

all-white public elementary school

Saint AEbbe The Younger

Martyr, cut her nose to avoid rape by Viking marauders

Stormé Delarverie

Gay rights activist

Temple Grandin

Animal behavior expert who is on the autism spectrum

Vivian Maier

Street photographer who was discovered

and celebrated only after her death

Yma Sumac

Peruvian American soprano

Zofia Posmysz

Journalist and author known

for her novel The passenger

Anita Kunz is a Canadian-born artist and

illustrator living in Toronto. Her work has

been published and exhibited internationally

for four decades. Her work has been featured

regularly in and on covers of many magazines,

including Time, Rolling Stones, and the New

York Times Magazines. She has illustrated

covers for the New Yorker and more than

fifty book jackets. Kunz has been inducted

into the Society of Illustrators stamp. She has

been appointed Officer of the Order of Canada

(QC), and has received the Queen Elizabeth II

Diamond Jubilee Medal.

The portraits in the collection of “Original

Sisters: Portraits of Tenacity and Courage”

bring the accomplishments of trailblazers,

leaders, mentors, and rebels together in

a series of paintings that embody Anita’s

approachable and engaging style. The entire

Original Sisters collection, with 365 portraits,

is on public display at TAP Centre for

Creativity, London, Ontario, from November

3rd, 2022 to January 4th, 2023.

A song is a painting is

a portrait is a prose

written by Holly Lee

From Barber to Agee to Evans

The first time I heard James Agee’s words were set to music, and sung by a soprano

with a beautiful voice. I didn’t know him then, and gradually get to know him a little

more. Not enough. Because of the music, the words and the poetry, I was driven to buy

his book A Death in the Family.

Agee’s rapturous prose-poem, Knoxville: Summer, 1915 was written in less than an

hour and a half, and on his revision, stayed 98 percent faithful to the original writing.

When I heard the music for the first time, I immediately fell for it. I was eager to

know, who’s the composer, who’s the lyricist, who performed it. It was Samuel Barber,

who set Agee’s Knoxville to music, and the version that I’d heard was sung by Renée

Fleming. Obviously, my knowledge in contemporary classical music is as limited as my

proficiency in 20th Century literature. But that doesn’t matter, I’ve become infatuated

by both composer and writer since.

Described as “lyric rhapsody” by Barber, he used about 1/3 of the prose-poem for

the score, conjuring up a 16-minute dramatic song for soprano and orchestra. There

is a universality of idyllic, nostalgic beauty in the work, that even for a person from

the Far East could grasp and resonate. The shortened prose set in lines was already

very impressive, but reading the original prose; I was enraptured with the free flow of

language, the meticulous observation of everyday life in amplified details, sentences

filled with humanity and purity of the heart.

On the bookshelf there is an old book I bought in the late eighties, which I rarely

touch, and remember only its approximate contents. It was about the Farm Security

Administration project; about some photographs taken by Walker Evans and text

written by James Agee—a documentation of the lives of three impoverished tenant

farmers during America’s Great Depression. I bring this up because, after some twenty

years, I finally picked up Walker Evans’s 650 pages biography and start reading. It

was from this point I remember the book “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men”, the book

I mentioned above. The book, with its photographs and text, left the world an indelible

impression on the poverty-stricken American South in the 30s. In it, I found a written

account of Agee by Evans. I was struck by its vividness and unconventional style of

writing, full of wit, beaming with life and personality. It is a “written” portrait of James

Agee. Walker Evans is not only a great photographer, he is unequivocally a brilliant


I could have ignored, and kept ignoring Agee’s prose and poetry, and Evans’s

photography, had I not been touched incidentally by Barber’s Knoxville. Music leads

to words, and words lead to imagery, which brings me back to writing. As I learn more

about Barber’s music, I’m impacted by his Adagio for Strings, which I have heard

before, but not knowing: it is one of the saddest compositions in contemporary classical


The Original Sisters to The Golden Lotus

Anita Kunz acknowledged women of significance, known or unknown, with her brush

strokes. Recently she has created a substantial body of work, bringing illustrious

females front and centre to the printed page, naming the book “Original Sisters”.

Drawing one portrait a day, the two year lockdown period gave her plenty of quiet

time to focus on this project. Most characters in the series are long gone, and some

she was only made aware of from her friends. The way she portrayed the figures relied

mainly on public sources, and images she found on the Internet—very generic, and

generalized. With her experience and well-versed skill, she deftly picked up heat and

intensity of the individuals, modified and idealized with her personal touch.

In the portrait of Anna Akhmatova, she set her against a red background, her sharp

profile characterized by the nasal bump, and a fringe. Her hair is tied back into a

soft bun, a red bead necklace hung down her shoulders stressing their roundness by

the low-cut V-shaped dress. One can almost hear Akhmatova’s line: you will hear

thunder and remember me, and think: she wanted storms. Camille Claudel is another

beguiling portrait. The overall tone of the painting clings to an earthly brown. Her head

and shoulders are elongated; her hair unkempt, raining down in rings of frenzy; her

face is like porcelain, cracked and broken like her mental state, her intelligence and

virtuosity are reflected by the delicately painted French embroidered lace. After almost

close to a century, Camille Claudel’s sculptures are widely accepted, and proclaimed

as great as Rodin’s—her once teacher, mentor, and lover.

As Kunz celebrates the achievement of distinguished women in pictures, I contemplate

on the submissive roles Chinese women have endured over the centuries, ever more

feeling the privilege of living in a better, freer world of gender and racial equality. In

1989, I was invited to work on a multi-platform art project, which had incorporated

dance, performance, drama, music and photography. It was based loosely on the

Chinese classical novel: The Golden Lotus. The novel took place in the 12th century,

and encompassed many female characters, which made me think about the three-inch

golden lotus—the synonym for the bound feet of women. I proposed to take a suite

of portraits of the artists. Not deliberately, but out of subconsciousness, many of the

portraits I took possessed strong gestural bearings of the hands and feet.

When I was asked to participate in The Golden Lotus Project, the Tiananmen Square

protests had just started in China. My approach to the portrait series of the performers

and musicians was not meant to be direct interpretation of the characters in the book,

and the six weeks of protests in China ending in bloodshed perturbed me immensely.

It reflected clearly in my portrait of the musician Peter Suart. Suart, a young English

lad born in Hong Kong, was in Beijing during the incident. He was a first-hand witness

ut left the capital before the brutal crack down. We worked together on the idea of

the shot. In the shooting session, he wore the leather trench coat he bought in Beijing,

grabbing two spiky Indonesian musical instruments acting as sharp claws; he spread

his wings and soared like an eagle. The background was an old poem, composed and

made into woodcut by Ka-sing. The poem was about free will, and choice. Tea or

coffee. My title of the work echoed these thoughts. It came to be: 89 • The Golden

Lotus • Footsteps of June (1989) 八 九 • 金 瓶 梅 • 六 月 前 後 .

taking off my wartime garments. I’m putting on my old time wear. Gently, gently, I’m

releasing and combing my long-tangled hair. Before the mirror I stare, ornamenting my

brow with gold floral print cut in pairs. Stepping outside, I’m calling to my comrades.

Shocked and startled, not even my confidant recognizes me! Oh, my companions

for twelve long years. Listen to me, and look. Some distance away, among the thick

bushes, a male rabbit scurried north; a female rabbit looked vague and lost. Both

running, dear mates, are you able to tell if this one a buck, or that one a doe?”

Buck or Doe: The Ballad of Mulan 木 蘭 辭 , a re-imagination

She became a warrior by necessity, at a time when well water could not be mixed with

river water. She was that quiet water knitting from dawn to dusk; her sole music came

from her own breathing; her loom click click and click click.

A troubled, unrest heart. How was her old father to fight? The Khan was merciless;

soldiers were just numbers, recruited fast and perished fast. She would take up the

duty, cut her hair, bind her breasts, wear her boots, and head to the market. East to get

a fine stead; west, a saddle; south, a bridle, and north a long whip. Farewell farewell

my parents. By dusk I’d be resting by the Yellow River, another dusk on the black

mountains of Mongolia. Your calling became so feeble, I couldn’t bear to hear.

Ten thousand miles she rode and battled, swept through fields and mountain passes.

The north wind blew, the gong hit at midnight. Her armour shimmered under cold,

silvery light. For ten years she fought on countless battlefields, battered bodies laid

bare, and unsettled. For ten years, she combated and survived, returned gloriously,

kneeling to meet her emperor. On his high throne he offered her praise, high rank, and

gold. All these to her, were moon in the water, flower in the mirror. All she asked for

was a good horse, accompanying her in her toilsome journey, speeding her safely back

to her village; back to home, sweet home.


In our age, most people associate Mulan as a Disney cartoon character of Asian origin,

a woman disguised as a man going to battle for his aging father. Mulan is a fictional

folk heroine from China’s Northern dynasties (Northern Wei, 386-534 AD), a time

when many famous Buddhist rock-cut cave temples were constructed at Yungang

and Longmen. Mulan is believed to be of Chinese/Xianbei ancestry (no bound feet!).

Mulan is perhaps even a tribal name, leaving the highly regarded heroine, like

many others, anonymous. But her brave deeds have survived and inspired people for

many centuries. The Ballad of Mulan is collected from oral traditions, transcribed

into written language, as a beautiful rhymed song. Though there are many English

translations of this ballad available on the Internet, I have the urge to re-imagining the

scene, and re-writing it in a prose form.

Her news of returning reached home faster than her feet. Her father, mother walked

out of the city arm-in arm. Her neighbours all came out to greet. Her sister rouged her

cheeks in rosy red; her brother whetted his knife for pigs and sheep.

Entering from east chamber door, settling on west chamber bed, she sings, “I’m

Holly Lee

89 • The Golden Lotus

• Footsteps of June

八 九 • 金 瓶 梅 •

六 月 前 後

15 photographs

Mui Cheuk Yin 梅 卓 燕


Peter Suart 彼 得 小 話


Lindsay Chan 陳 令 智


Kung Chi Shing 龔 志 成 , Peter Suart 彼 得 小 話


Kung Chi Shing 龔 志 成


Pia Ho 何 秀 萍


Sunny Pang 彭 錦 耀


Miguel Zermeno


Norman Fung 馮 唸 慈


Robert Fung 馮 萬 剛


Norman Fung 馮 唸 慈 , Sunny Pang 彭 錦 耀


Pia Ho 何 秀 萍 , Margaret Lee 李 翠 玲


Margaret Lee 李 翠 玲


Frances Tao 陶 馥 蘭


89 • The Golden Lotus • Footsteps of June

八 九 • 金 瓶 梅 • 六 月 前 後

89 • The Golden Lotus • Footsteps of June

八 九 • 金 瓶 梅 • 六 月 前 後

Fifteen photographs in a series

12 x 16 inch, FUJICHROME Super gloss reversal print


This photo project was within a larger, multi-layered

project sparking off a dance performance accompanied

with live music, and an art installation—inspired and

created around the Chinese classic novel The Golden

Lotus. Composed in the early 17th Century the novel

is considered one of the six major classics of Chinese


When I was asked to join the Golden Lotus Project, the

Tiananmen Square protests had just started in China.

The series I proposed to take portraits of the performers

and musicians was never direct interpretation of the

characters in the book. But the six weeks of protests

ended in bloodshed did affect the way I felt and the

feelings injected into these photographs, and the title of

the exhibition echoed these thoughts.

89 • The Golden Lotus • Footsteps of June is not a big

series; it consists only of fourteen prints. But looking

back, it was a pleasant collaboration with the artists

involved in this project. The photographs were shown

at 97 Brasserie and Le Cardre Gallery (1989) in Hong

Kong. A few years later, three images from the series was

exhibited at Contemporary Photography from Mainland

China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (1994, Hong Kong Arts

Centre) as C-type prints in a bigger size (image 18”x36”,

frame size 50”35”).

Published here, are images directly scanned from the

suite which was originally exhibited at Le Cardre Gallery.

Print size is 12”x16”, reversal photographs printed from

colour transparencies.

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