No same-sex marriage; a place on the US State Department’s human-trafficking watch list; the jailing of democracy activists; and the poor treatment of domestic helpers: these are the issues Justice Centre Hong Kong – an NGO that advocates for the rights of refugees and others seeking protection as well as survivors of torture, human-trafficking and forced labour – wants to draw attention to.
To help raise awareness it is again hosting the Human Rights Art Prize (entry is free and open until November 1), with this year’s theme being “local or international human rights”. The competition, past themes of which have included the “umbrella movement”, homelessness, the plight of refugees, forced labour, ethnic minorities and LGBT rights, is open to Hong Kong-based visual artists.
“This prize is a way for us to engage with more sectors of the community, working with artists, institutions, the education sector, media, galleries and corporates while raising awareness and much-needed funds for the front-line work of Justice Centre Hong Kong,” says the centre’s executive director, Piya Muqit.
Judges include Claire Hsu, co-founder of Asia Art Archive; Elaine Ng, publisher and editor-in-chief of ArtAsiaPacific magazine; and artist Kacey Wong Kwok-choi, and they will announce the winner at an exhibition featuring shortlisted work in early December.
Australian-born Katie Vajda, who won in 2014 with the photographic project “Can you see me yet?”, says the prize is a platform from which artists are able to create work without boundaries and magnify the impact and exposure of their stories.
“It’s a special project because it’s for Hong Kong artists about Hong Kong,” Vajda says.
For details, visit justicecentre.org.hk/artsprize.