Arts centre set to dazzle local scene
The soon-to-be opened Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre in Shek Kip Mei, outfitted with a wide range of arts and culture facilities, is certain to spice up the local arts scene.
The other art villages in Fo Tan and Kwun Tong are running at close to full capacity, and the new centre offers local artists more choices for their studios.
The centre, with renovations funding of HK$69 million from the Jockey Club, is led by the Baptist University and has the Arts Development Council and Arts Centre as strategic partners. It is one of the first projects in the city to put an idle industrial building to new use. The influx of visitors to the centre will jazz up the Shek Kip Mei neighbourhood.
'Shek Kip Mei has long been acknowledged as being a poor district. We hope the project will act like a culture-led urban regeneration programme. We will also work with community groups in the neighbourhood to promote arts and culture in the district,' says the centre's executive director, Eddie Lui Fung-ngar.
Sharing Mr Lui's vision are four young artists who are eager to show their work:
Sculptor Lam Keyee
Lam has been interested in sculptures since she read a book on them in 2002.
The journalism graduate from the Chinese University of Hong Kong says being able to set up her own studio has realised her dream.
'I have a studio at home. However, making sculptures at home causes great inconvenience to my family as the process can be quite messy and dirty,' she says.
To pursue her interest, Lam quit her job in the movie-making industry several years ago. Now she devotes all her time to making her human sculptures.
Standing in front of a copper bust of late Canto-pop legend Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, Lam says she's often surprised by her passion for sculpting. 'When I am cooped up in my studio making my works day and night, I often forget to eat and sleep.'
Painters Marco Lam Yiu-keung and Chris Yui Cheuk-cheung
Surrounded by dozens of their oil paintings, Lam and Yui say having their own studio helps relieve their pressure.
'I have loved doing human portraits ever since I completed a programme on fine arts at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2003. It's a way of expressing myself,' says Lam.
Dressed in an orange overall daubed with paint, Yui talks enthusiastically about his passion for painting.
'I paint whenever I have time on my hands. I like impressionist paintings the most,' says the interior designer.
The artists are excited about opening their own studio in the centre which has gathered other amateur painters. 'Making arts should not be a solitary business. Creative exchanges with artists from different disciplines can open new horizons for us,' says Yui.
Mixed media artist
A veteran of constructing public art installations, Cheong says engaging the public in the process is the most interesting part.
He talks about a project he completed in Taiwan in 2003 to illustrate his point. Cheong was commissioned by an arts village in Chiayi to make an art installation when he stayed there. He made a huge acrylic kite framed in steel, to express his solitude in the village. Showing aerial photographs of the kite in transit, Cheong
says he was excited by the enthusiastic participation of the public.
A group of students pitched in to help carry the kite to its destination at a flea market. 'The police cleared the way for us. The vendors and shoppers at the flea market where the kite was hoisted also appreciated the display a lot.'
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