Discovering Wanstead


Madeline Wong is an artist from Hong Kong now living in Wanstead and applying her passion for painting old buildings to the landmarks she is discovering here

Since I was young, I dreamed of becoming an artist. I also aspired to be a teacher. Unfortunately, my family’s economic environment couldn’t provide me with artistic nurturing, but after graduating from university, I became an art teacher, which became my lifelong career.

Some 15 years ago, I left my teaching position of 20 years, having fulfilled that ambition, drawing a simple, yet unfinished conclusion to the first half of my life. Transitioning from full-time teacher to housewife, my pace of life slowed, and I decided to reignite my interest in painting. In the process of painting, I found joy in life and pursued my unfinished dream of being an artist in the second half of my life!

Hong Kong has undergone rapid change in recent years, and the fast-paced life there can be overwhelming, making it difficult to catch one’s breath. When I take a moment to pause, I realise things around me have vanished without a trace. Old values have also faded and become blurred. Many old buildings and even the skills of experienced craftsmen are gradually being eliminated due to the loss of economic value. However, to me, these scenes and the small characters in the city are the fragments of my life and the pieces of my growth. Hence, I enjoy roaming the streets, exploring historical sites and searching for subjects to paint. I hope to use colours to preserve past emotions and memories, capturing fleeting encounters and vanishing moments, allowing my art to retain a strong local flavour.

Ten months ago, I left my native Hong Kong and moved to the UK, settling in Wanstead. Exploring the community has become a means of understanding the local culture. Many beautiful historical buildings have captured my attention and I couldn’t resist putting them into my paintings, like Christ Church pictured here.

Since I don’t have many local friends, I have been sharing my finished works in community groups online. Through this, I also got to know more about the local landmarks. I discovered these historical buildings hold unique meaning for individual residents, just like my own desire to preserve certain architectural scenes; they are puzzle pieces of my life. And so, I completed one artwork after another, and painting has become my daily life and motivation here in Wanstead.

Apart from old buildings, I also love painting flowers. In the UK, beautiful flowers can be found everywhere during spring and summer, which truly brings joy to the heart! I hope to share my floral paintings with everyone soon.

To view more of Madeline’s paintings, visit wnstd.com/madeline