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The Power of Portrait / The Portrait of Power

In recent years, Hong Kong has seen quite a number of photographic portrait series related to social movements. These include Gaze by MC CHAN Kai Chun, My Portrait Diary – 18 Children by Anthony Kar-Long FAN, Wounds of Hong Kong by KO Chung Ming, Hong Kong: A City Divided by LAM Yik Fei and Last Year by Ivy MA. Whilst variations exist in their subject matter, choices and artistic approaches, all these works constitute a valuable visual archive of Hong Kong’s recent history.

Our coming WMA Open Talk, titled ‘The Power of Portrait / The Portrait of Power’, will invite these five image makers to share with us the motives, selections and reflections in their processes of creation. We will also discuss issues related to body archive, including visibility and invisibility, immediacy and deference, individuality and collectivity. Through a dialogue moderated by Carol Chow, the talk seeks to explore how these individual portrait series may shed light on the underlying power relations that shape our society.

The talk will be conducted in Cantonese on our Facebook, with simultaneous interpretation in English on our YouTube channel. 

Speakers (in alphabetical order)  

MC CHAN Kai Chun 

MC CHAN Kai Chun is currently a part-time lecturer at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hong Kong Design Institute. His work has been shortlisted for international photo festivals and awards, including Pingyao International Photography Festival, DongGang International Photo Festival, Kyoto International Photo Festival, Hasselblad Masters Award, the Three Shadows Photography Award and WMA Masters Award. In 2014, he was awarded a fellowship to complete his Master’s degree in London College of Communication. His work is collected by Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

Anthony Kar-Long FAN

Anthony Kar-Long FAN started his photography journey in 2015, during his second year in university that he  made photographic portraits of his hallmates and ‘honourable guests’ at special ‘high table dinners’. Fan has remained his interest in studying people and reads public figures’ biographies and interviews. He shoots commercially for publications and advertisements, while he keeps developing his personal photography projects.

KO Chung Ming

KO Chung Ming is a Hong Kong photojournalist who focuses on issues of poverty, homelessness and ethnic minorities. Ko’s Wounds of Hong Kong (2019) is named the winner in the Professional category of Documentary of Sony World Photography Awards 2020. Ko won the WMA Masters Award of the ‘Poverty’ cycle in 2012. Since 2016, Ko has become a volunteer photographer for Oxfam Hong Kong and photographs Oxfam’s humanitarian program in different countries.

LAM Yik Fei

LAM Yik Fei’s works have been featured in various international and local media. He is a recipient of the Award of Excellence in the category of National/International News Picture Story in 77th Pictures of the Year International with his work Hong Kong Protests. The series was recently exhibited in ‘Be Water! The Strategy of Resistance in the Hong Kong Protests’, a special exhibition by the World Press Photo in 2020.

Ivy MA 

Ivy MA is a Hong Kong artist working in drawings, paintings, photography and mixed-media installation. Having studied in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, she has held a number of solo exhibitions in Hong Kong, and participated in group exhibitions in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Pakistan and Australia. She was an Asian Cultural Council grantee in 2007 and she received Hong Kong Contemporary Art Awards, Young Artist Award in 2012.

Image/ Wong Ka Wing, Lost in the Fumes from WMA Open archive