Whole world is a gallery for artists

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 May, 2012, 12:00am


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A gold coin symbolising Hong Kong's core value, abandoned neon signs advertising Coca-Cola and Sprite and video footage of forgotten communities - these are some of the items that have turned up in unexpected parts of Yau Ma Tei.

They are art installations - part of 'Mobile M+: Yau Ma Tei' - an exhibition mounted by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority that is challenging the notion that art belongs in a museum.

Twenty people joined the first free tour of the six installations - in shops, parks and empty flats - yesterday, including two US tourists.

Social worker Joanne Chun Po-yu, 25, who joined the tour with her boyfriend, said she felt like she was on holiday: 'It's only when you're on holiday that you feel this curiosity to really learn about a place.'

Chun said she related most to the gold coin by artists Kwan Sheung-chi and Wong Wai-yin. 'It's ironic that our 'core value' is a gold coin - that shows how money-obsessed our society is,' she said. 'All too often, our decisions are based on how much money we can make.'

The two artists, who are married, invited the public to submit their own ideas of the city's core values.

Asta Fan Chun-ying, 15, on the tour with her mother, said she offered 'freedom' as the core value.

'Compared to our neighbours, Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of freedom,' she said.

'I felt this most personally in the education reform, because I had more freedom to mix and match my subject choices.'

Exhibition curator Stella Fong Wing-yan said: 'It is the surprise of seeing art in unexpected locations that can really challenge the viewer's assumptions.' She was referring to the work of Leung Mee-ping.

'When people see the Coca-Cola and Sprite neon signs lying sideways in the park, they will wonder if it has been discarded there or if it is an artwork.' The neon signs, which are lit up at night, hung over Macau's bustling Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro for 50 years, but Leung found them after they were dismantled and left to rot.

Cantonese tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, and English tours are on Sundays at 4pm. All tours meet at 18 Portland Street. The exhibition ends on June 10.