Nude models are top draw at art exhibition

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 August, 2008, 12:00am

Two nude models, one male, one female, were the undisputed focus of about 100 pairs of eyes in an exhibition room at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre yesterday.

Despite a display of scores of paintings and pictures of nude subjects, the audience of mostly middle-aged men was intent on seeing the drawing of nude models.

The room was mostly quiet except for the sound of pens rendering their subjects on paper. The models changed posture every five minutes to allow artists to experiment with new aspects of the human body.

However, a few youngsters were heard muttering and laughing as one posture was described as Olympic style.

Simon Cheung, model and chairman of the Body Arts Association, said he was happy the exhibition was being held in Hong Kong, because successfully applying for a venue for the event was not easy.

'It is not easy to organise an exhibition about nude arts,' he said. 'We have tried so many times to apply for a venue and our applications are always classed by the administration as unsuitable. Our application succeeded finally when I said that I would seek a judicial review.'

The last nude art exhibition in Hong Kong occurred eight years ago in the Sheung Wan Cultural Centre, although the models wore masks.

Mr Cheung said he was happy that nearly 70 per cent of visitors were not members of the association.

Winson Ngai, a student of photography at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education, said: 'It is just difficult to see nude arts in Hong Kong. We have to go to the mainland for nude picture lessons.'

Another patron, Bill Wong, agreed that nudity was a difficult issue. 'I enjoy a nude boat party, but it is just difficult to have one in Hong Kong,' he said. 'Overseas, there are places for nudity, but in Hong Kong, you are going to be in trouble if you are found nude on a boat.'

Fiona Ng, the female model, has been a nude model for more 10 years and enjoys the support of her family and boyfriend. Although not embarrassed to go naked in front of 100 strangers, she chose to hide her face yesterday. 'When I model nude for a professional drawing class, I don't cover my face,' she said. 'But at a public exhibition, it is better to hide my face as I don't know how the public will use the pictures they take.'

The exhibition ends on Thursday.