Hong Kong artists get biggest ever international showcase

Saatchi Gallery in London to feature works by 18 Hongkongers in rare international showcase

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2012, 3:47am

The largest international showcase of Hong Kong art will take place next month, with more than 50 works exhibited in one of London's top galleries.

Hong Kong Eye at the Saatchi Gallery will feature the artworks of 18 Hongkongers.

Participating artists say this will be not just a rare chance to show local creations globally, but will also give Hong Kong art the identity and exposure it deserves, separate from mainland works.

Hong Kong had the potential to be a public space accommodating different voices in China, said Johnson Chang Tsong-zung, who co-curated the show.

He said the city could challenge narratives of art history put forward by the mainland and Taiwan, since narratives as portrayed by Hong Kong art always fell outside the history of Chinese contemporary art, which focused on mainland works.

Chang, a guest professor at the China Art Academy and director of Hanart TZ Gallery, added: "If Hong Kong will have any cultural contribution, it will be a role to change the historical discourse of greater China."

Amy Cheung Wan-man, who represented Hong Kong at the 2007 Venice Biennale, said: "Hong Kong artists have long been overshadowed by mainland artists. Few realise we have a lot of good artists locally."

The exhibition is the third "Eye" initiative from the founders of Parallel Contemporary Art, David and Serenella Ciclitira, after "Korean Eye" and "Indonesian Eye". The Hong Kong edition received major sponsorships from Prudential, Swire Properties and Cathay Pacific.

Cheung said she hoped the initiative, which did not draw on government support, would inspire more people from the private sector to support local art.

Her multimedia work Toy Tank will feature in the show.

Accompanying the exhibition is a book, Hong Kong Eye: Hong Kong Contemporary Art, which documents more than 100 works by 76 artists.

Justin Wong Chiu-tat's installation, Difficult Life Station, will be among the London exhibits.

"In the past, only individual Hong Kong artists made it to international platforms but not as a group," Wong said. "This will definitely help promote Hong Kong art internationally."

Lui Chun-kwong, a former fine arts professor at Chinese University, will have four works on show. He said holding the exhibition at an important gallery like the Saatchi would be significant in the long run as many people did not know about Hong Kong art. "I was born in the 1950s and my generation of artists did not have many chances to exhibit overseas," Lui said.

Hong Kong Eye will run in London from December 5 to January 12. It will return to Hong Kong in May and be set up in ArtisTree at Taikoo Place in Quarry Bay.