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Art

Art

How one Hong Kong arts festival is putting a little island on the big stage – all thanks to the community

This year’s ‘Life by Water’ festival on Cheung Chau has attracted a number of local and international artists, including German photographer Michael Wolf, Japanese filmmaker Takashi Makino and sculptor Cheng Shing

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 November, 2017, 6:01pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 November, 2017, 6:01pm

It might be a little dot in the South China Sea but the island of Cheung Chau has big creative ideas – and this weekend’s “Life By Water” festival is one of its most ambitious.

Now in its third year, the event is all about culture and community and, of course, art. It showcases photography and street performance, video, painting, sculpture, and music, all moulded around the theme of life by water.

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This year’s event – from December 1 to 3 – has attracted a number of artists from abroad, including German photographer Michael Wolf, Japanese filmmaker Takashi Makino and Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Others include French photographer and collage artist Camille Levert, 13-year-old Thai piano prodigy Lert Lertwongwanit – who will play his own compositions as well as classics – and Budoy Marabiles, lead vocalist of Filipino reggae band Junior Kilat.

Others include French photographer and collage artist Camille Levert, 13-year-old Thai piano prodigy Lert Lertwongwanit – who will play his own compositions as well as classics – and Budoy Marabiles, lead vocalist of Filipino reggae band Junior Kilat.

“We’re very excited about Budoy – he’s quite famous in the Philippines and was on the celebrity reality TV show Big Brother,” says event co-organiser Christina Jensen, who has been involved with the festival since its inception in 2015. “He paints in his spare time and fell in love with Cheung Chau when he visited a while ago.”

The island’s many local artists will also be out in force. Among them is Cheng Shing, whose sculptures are constructed using materials collected from the island’s streets and woods.

“Cheng is a well-known artist on the island,” Jensen says. “He makes the most amazing metal sculptures from scraps he finds while cleaning the streets of Cheung Chau.”

Jensen says another local artist, Yeung Cheung-ming, uses household items such as toilet paper and envelopes as canvases to write calligraphy – not with a brush, but with single strands of hair.

The festival, organised by Cheung Chau Wave, a charity community project that promotes local art and culture, will also hold dance and music workshops for children.

“This festival has come about thanks to all the help from volunteers – it really is the biggest little festival in the world,” Jensen says.

An online interactive map will help visitors navigate the many sites on the island.

Life By Water, December 1, 6pm-10pm; December 2-3, 11am-10pm. Main venue: Cheung Chau Fisheries Joint Association Public School. HK$160 weekend pass (HK$80 for Cheung Chau residents and students). Tickets from Pelago. More details at www.cheungchauwave.com