It begins with a worn-out photo.
Hiding in an album my grandmother left us after she passed away is a photo that tells an untold chapter of my family history: My grandparents used to run a small grocery store in Chai Wan in the 70s. Today, Man Lee Store, as it was called, has already morphed into a run-of-the-mill concrete wall structure facing an underground train station.
Our city never ceases to change. As I turn the found objects from grocery stores into specimens in concrete, the disappearing urban tales buried underneath the ever-taller high-rises are given new forms. The absence in space of the concrete boards makes a poignant remark, moulds after moulds, as a that-has-been — an uncanny presence against change. These half-moulds-half-specimens are then recast as negative images. The photographic impressions, with their light and shadow reversed, reflect the achingly quotidian life lost in the fabric of space and time. Their silence never ceases to speak to us, as a void lurking in our city that seems so close yet distant to us.
The stores and their stories may be remembered and disremembered. Never are they too far from our hearts, however. They are just around the corner of the street that we pass by every day. A once most familiar sight.
Sharon Lee (b. 1992, Hong Kong) graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts in 2016. She was selected as the New Light of the year by Lumenvisum and debuted her solo exhibition The Presence of Absence in Hong Kong in 2017. Lee participated in several art residencies and group exhibitions in Germany and Taiwan. Her photographic art practice derives from her sensitivity to materials and the mundane of everyday life.
In recent years, housing prices and inflation have been going up in Hong Kong. Not only do HongKongers struggle with the stresses of everyday life, but they are also frustrated about their inability to buy a home. The sense of confidence that used to define HongKongers is long gone; what remains is just a shifting shadow. In this self-proclaimed modern metropolis, all people want in life is a stable job, counterfeit goods (to satisfy their vanity), or to win the Mark Six so that they can buy a house. Hong Kong is known to be a land of opportunity… but perhaps it is just some kind of an irony.
Born in Hong Kong in 1962. Graduated from École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux – Arts in Paris, France in 1990. Awards and honours included: the Hong Kong Arts Development Council’s ‘Artist-in-Residence’ programme in Bundanon Art Centre, Australia in 2000; Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, USA as part of the Freeman Foundation’s ‘Artist-in-Residence’ programme in 2005; shortlisted for the Art Promotion Office’s ‘Public Art Scheme’ in 2006; shortlisted for the Hong Kong Art Prize in 2013; and shortlisted for the UOB Art in Ink Awards in 2018.
Selected solo exhibitions:
2014 ‘Luxuriant Materialism’ at Art Beatus Gallery, Hong Kong
2013 ‘Bruce in the Sky with Water’ at Hong Kong Fringe Club Gallery
2010 ‘Heaven And Man As One’ at Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, Hong Kong
2008 ‘Desire/Disappearance’ at Art Beatus Gallery, Hong Kong
2007 ‘Ten Years Remembering & Dreaming’ at Olympian City Gallery, Hong Kong
2007 ‘Footnotes To Oil Street’ at 1a Space, Cattle Depot Artists Village, Hong Kong
2006 ‘Unity’ at 1a Space, Cattle Depot Artists Village, Hong Kong
2005 ‘Senses’ at Graduate House, The University of Hong Kong,
2005 ‘Senses’ at Art Beatus Gallery, Hong Kong
2005 ‘Sensing’ at Vermont Studio Center, USA
2001 ‘Colour Value’ at Hong Kong Arts Development Council’s Gallery, Hong Kong
Engaged in painting and photography. Art works collected by private collectors, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Annie Wong Art Foundation, Deutsche Bank and other organisations.
For as long as I can remember, my mother’s friends have been telling me how much I look like her. As my mother’s ‘mini-me’, I want to be connected with her youth through being photographed in the clothes she used to wear, and in the same places she once went to.
As a Dutch artist based in Hong Kong and who used to live in China, I am at once an insider and outsider.
As a mother residing in Asia I am closely exposed to, and to a certain extent even part of the famous – or perhaps infamous – ‘Tiger Mom’ scene.
Living with school-aged children in Hong Kong, it is impossible not to be emotionally affected by the stories of suicides in schools.
I take a balanced view and I am also well aware of the incredible academic performance of children in Hong Kong, Singapore and mainland China compared to children globally.
At the same time, some statistics are terrifying. Some children in primary schools in Hong Kong are given less outdoor time for exercise than prisoners. Fifty percent of secondary school pupils show signs of depression. The school systems in Asia have been consistently referred to a pressure cooker.
What is wrong and what is right? There is the constant fear that by not exhibiting some of the ambitious qualities of a Tiger Mom, we will disadvantage our children.
My work shares a feeling of collective helplessness, as no child, family or school can step out on their own.
I fear an encroaching world in which individuality is no longer seen in children, a world where students become anonymous, judged only by their knowledge and their results. I am scared of a world where pupils are not experiencing the joy of education but only the pressure of passing tests and getting high marks.
This visual manifesto, Time to tame the tigers?, aims to inspire us to collectively re-consider the roles of our schools and parents. Do we have the ambition for our children to be ready for the rapidly changing world we live in, or do we only educate them to be accepted at an Ivy League University?
‘This Art fair’, Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam
International Urban Image Festival (IUIF), Shenzhen, China
Exhibited multimedia artwork Time to tame the tigers?
Hong Kong International Photo Festival
Exhibited Silence of the Sky
Fine Art Asia, Hong Kong
Exhibited Silence of the Sky
Publication in Field & Stations – a magazine about travels and places
Finalist of ‘Discovery’ photography prize, Affordable Art Fair, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre
Group exhibition: ‘Asia, Light, Hope and Dynamism’
Exhibition and artist talk: ‘Unleash the Passion of Wong Chuk Hang’
Beginning of a 6-month Magnum photography multimedia mentorship programme
South China Morning Post
Photo essay – Barbers in back streets of HK
Solo Exhibition: ‘Glamour in Unglamorous Places’
National Geographic Traveler
(Publication of photos taken in Yunnan)
‘Life is full of opportunities, the problem is to recognise them when they present themselves.’ Tiziano Terzani
Every day, on our way to school, to work or back to home, thousands of people are constantly forced through an archipelago of privately owned properties, shopping centres and transportation hubs, mutually interconnected by a maze of underground tunnels and covered footbridges.
In the Mall-Densest city, where there is one mall per square mile, the Mall offers an unlimited source of opportunities to Hong Kong citizens. This is a place where people create collective memories, socialise, build a sense of community and, during the hot summer months, have a breath of fresh air.
The Mall is not only the core of Hong Kong’s retail-based economy; it is where one can find accommodation, food supplies, entertainment and the chance to interact.
We could live our entire life without ever having to leave these modern fortresses; the basic units of Hong Kong contemporary urbanism, and perhaps a glimpse into the futuristic city.
The Mall offers the same opportunities of the more traditional public square; a contemporary agora where interconnections are made but where, inevitably, it will never rain.
Pierfrancesco Celada (b. 1979) completed a PhD in Biomechanics in 2010, and has since been working on a series of long-term studies investigating contemporary living.
He has recently been selected to take part in the EPEA03 – European Photo Exhibition Award with his project ‘Milano, Fuorinovanta’, putting on exhibitions in Paris, Viareggio, Hamburg and Oslo.
Among Celada’s awards were: the Happiness ONTHEMOVE Award (2017), the Photolux Leica Award (2014), and the Ideastap and Magnum Photos Photographic Award (2011).
He interned at Magnum Photos, London in 2011 and his work has been exhibited and published internationally in publications including Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Lightbox, i-D, LaRepubblica, Vogue, Amica, D-Repubblica, and Leap.
He has been based in Hong Kong since 2014.
I created this self-portrait series to celebrate my entry into the battlefield against depression and anxiety. During a very low point in my life, when my body was filled with drugs, alcohol and powder, I randomly came across Francis Bacon’s Wikipedia page, and I started brainstorming.
Beatrice Wong is a transgender outsider artist with a lifelong struggle with mental issues. She is currently a research assistant on transgender studies, and on the side, she expresses her dilemmas in life through personal creative projects and mediums including stand-up comedy, writing, a short documentary screened at various LGBTQIA film festivals, and recently, photography. She was a WMA Open finalist and now stepping up to also being a finalist at the prestigious WMA Masters.
In an age of overwhelming, hyper-digitised, cell-phone photography, the time we spend taking photos and looking at them has dwindled to a bare minimum. Since our eyes are always on the screen, how we read an image is increasingly important. The meaning of an image doesn’t lie in the image itself, but in how the ‘reality’ and relationships between images are being interpreted and understood. Sometimes the discovery of the unintentional nuances of human nature hidden in images might require efforts of gathering, organising, and synthesising photographic information.
Since early 2014, I have been collecting criminal reportage from newspapers. The image of suspects, always hooded, during an arrest or in an investigation often appears in the reports. There is a sharp contrast between the circumstances of an arrest and the casual tees the suspects are wearing. What people wear in everyday situations, which may or may not intentionally express certain messages, creates an embarrassing tension. The symbols in these images are real; the text is real too. But when they come together, the sum is ambivalent. This is where confusion arises: our actual reality is paradoxical and invisible.
Mixed media artist Yip Kin Bon (b. 1989) was born and bred in Hong Kong. He received his BA degree from the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University in 2013. His works feature a variety of approaches that include collecting, reading, sorting and integrating, which are often presented in forms of collage. He rearranges the context of incidents, objects and time to reflect the absurdity of this world. He currently lives and works in Hong Kong.