Wei Leng Tay - North Point
Wei Leng Tay’s (b.1978, Singapore) practice examines how people’s relationships, priorities, and ways of life are shaped by the socio-political landscape of the places they live in. She has exhibited with organisations such as the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan, the Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Indonesia, the National Museum of Singapore, Chulalongkorn University Art Center, Bangkok, and the NUS Museum, Singapore. She has also participated in festivals such as the Noorderlicht International Photography Festival, The Netherlands, the International Photography Festival of Rome, the F/Stop International Photography Festival in Leipzig, PhotoEspana and the Delhi Photo Festival. Her work is collected by museums such as the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Japan, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.
Like many other districts in Hong Kong, North Point, the area that is the focus of this project, is experiencing rapid change and gentrification. Luxury apartments and new retail chain stores are sprouting up amid the decades-old buildings and traditional shops in what has been a predominantly working-class neighbourhood. Rising rents and constant redevelopment are pushing long-term residents out of places like Kai Yuen Lane, which was photographed for the project. North Point has always attracted migrants – affluent Shanghainese in the 1950s, Fujianese with ties to Southeast Asia from the ’60s onwards. It now attracts a range of new migrants from China, as well as expatriates. New arrivals, decades-long residents, the poor, blue collar workers, middle-class families and expatriates all live side-by-side in towering blocks like those we see all over urban Hong Kong. Like many older mixed-use neighbourhoods around the city — Causeway Bay, Mongkok or Sai Ying Pun — North Point is characterised by high-rise apartment blocks haphazardly built next to office towers and old walk-up buildings. The outside appearance of buildings doesn’t tell us much about what is inside. Changing economic realities mean blocks are constantly reconfigured into large multigenerational flats, smaller single-family flats, or subdivided cubicle flats. The project “North Point” examines this changing district, and its history of migration, through the personal lives and homes of its inhabitants. Looking at how family spaces, personal spaces, and communal spaces define and are defined by the economic and social environment, the work highlights how people deal with the increasing price and difficulties of living in Hong Kong.