Artistic salute to world's most famous cat

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 August, 2005, 12:00am

Over the past three decades, cute cartoon character Hello Kitty has struck a chord among generations of girls.

Created by Japanese company Sanrio in 1974, the mouthless cat is being honoured with What's Hide and Seek, an exhibition to mark the end of her 30th anniversary celebrations.

Presented by Sanrio and AllRightReserved, the exhibition features works from more than 70 artists from around the world who have used fashion, music, animation, installations and interactive media to express their memories of the cat.

The artists include illustrator Alice Mak Ka-bik - the creator of cartoon character McDull - multimedia artist Craig Au Yeung and photographer Kabo.

Other featured artists hail from Japan, Britain, France and Australia.

Fashion stylist Kenta Shibusawa used felt to craft a Hello Kitty cake that expressed the feline's colourful and cheerful image.

'Hello Kitty has stood the test of time. Although she was created 30 years ago, her image remains youthful. She symbolises happiness and youth,' said Shibusawa, who was named Most Promising Artist by Japanese fashion magazine So-En.

'The little cat has broken the gender boundary,' he said.

'In the past, only girls fancied Hello Kitty and most boys found it embarrassing to admit their fondness for her. Now, it's OK for boys to like Hello Kitty because she's such a cheerful icon.'

French artist Alexandra Compain-Tissier used watercolours to portray Hello Kitty against a background set in China.

'I first learnt about the Hello Kitty project while I was visiting China. It was then that I realised Hello Kitty is everywhere,' she said. 'My visual impression of China is a mix of traditional art and Hello Kitty.'

A three-dimensional animation by New York-based creative company Plus et Plus put Hello Kitty and her friends in the labyrinth of New York City. It juxtaposes the bubbly world of Hello Kitty against the gritty backdrop of New York as the cartoon characters explore the city's streets and subways.

The exhibition also brings to Hong Kong Yuko Yamaguchi, the third chief designer of Hello Kitty since 1980. She has been credited with the feline's global success, having put Hello Kitty in a variety of clothes and colours to reflect changing trends.

The fun-filled exhibition runs until August 31 at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. It is open daily from 10am to 8pm, but will close at 1pm on the last day. Limited editions of Hello Kitty products are being sold at the exhibition venue.

Admission fee is $50 (adults) and $25 (students). Tickets are available at the exhibition venue, 7-Eleven, Sanrio Vivitix shops and Sanrio Gift Gate outlets (except department store counters). For more information, e-mail

Other Hello Kitty events are taking place in various venues, including D-Mop, G.O.D. and Extravaganza.

Those who want to test their knowledge of Hello Kitty can try the 100-question quiz at the website