Harmony in epic handover painting

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 June, 2007, 12:00am


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Hong Kong's largest painting was unveiled yesterday to mark the 10th anniversary of the handover.

Measuring 7.1 metres by 2.8 metres, Halcyon Days Pearl is seen as a sister work to Festive Day, another epic oil painting that fetched HK$23 million in 1997 - then a record for contemporary Chinese art.

The painting features state leaders and Hong Kong's movers and shakers. It was painted by renowned artist Liu Yuyi and his daughter, Liu Haomei.

At the heart of the painting is President Hu Jintao , who is handing a huge pearl to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen as other state leaders and top Hong Kong officials look on.

'Festive Day was more solemnly themed when people still held doubts about Hong Kong's future,' said Liu. 'Now Pearl has harmony and happiness in the air.'

He said he included people of different political views.

Near the edge of the painting stand such figures as Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang and Civic Party legislator Alan Leong Kah-kit.

Tycoons Li Ka-shing and Stanley Ho Hung-sun were among the closest to the state leaders in the canvas.

Some key members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and the Liberal Party were also close to the action. Liu, who has lived in Hong Kong since 1991, said he had not yet decided whether to auction the painting, although some interested buyers had contacted him in recent days. 'I may just give it to the state,' he said. 'And I don't rule out the possibility of giving it to the Hong Kong government.'

In the background of the painting are Hong Kong's landmark skyscrapers and tourist attractions. Mount Everest sits in the deeper background to symbolise the support of the mainland.

Liu and his daughter spent more than two years on the canvas.