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City Weekend

Snap happy: Hong Kong’s ethnic minority students use photography to bring light into their lives

Photo exhibition highlights the work of 32 ethnic minority and local Chinese students from Sir Ellis Kadoorie Secondary School in West Kowloon

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 February, 2017, 3:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 February, 2017, 1:07am

Form five student Harneet Kaur gestured softly at the photos on display in her first foray into photography.

Her smile betrayed pride in her work, among those on display at the “In Light Of” youth photo exhibition in Sai Ying Pun, where students were given the chance to express what brings “light” into their lives through photos.

The exhibition was launched by the non-profit KELY Support Group and sponsored by Moody’s. It features work from 32 ethnic minority and local Chinese students from Sir Ellis Kadoorie Secondary School in West Kowloon.

Its purpose is to expand students’ creativity and self-awareness, while broadening their potential, according to Sky Siu, executive director with KELY Support Group.

“We hoped to identify who [the students] are as young people in Hong Kong, and share a snapshot of their life and thoughts,” she said.

In particular, the exhibition aims to shine a light on the over 45,000 ethnic minority students in Hong Kong, to empower some of these students to express themselves through photography, alongside a mentorship programme teaching students things such as interviewing skills.

For Kaur, her photos highlighted her loved ones, who she said brought light into her life.

“I am lucky to have a great family and friends, and a loving partner,” she said. “A lot of people don’t have the privilege to spend quality time with people they love the most. I believe I’m blessed.”

Kaur’s family is from India, but she considers herself a Hongkonger. Her favourite among her exhibited photos is a downward shoe shot of her and three of her friends.

Another is a photo of her own shadow, something that is “always with you”.

Another student, Joshua Angeles, said he was surprised that there was more to photography than just taking photos.

“It’s about capturing a memorable moment and giving inspiring messages,” he said in his photo collection’s description.

He hopes to one day take on a managerial role in Hong Kong’s hospitality industry, although he admits his lack of fluency in Cantonese and Putonghua presents a challenge.

Through photography, the students were able to build confidence, express themselves and experiment creatively, according to Joshua Tam, a freelance photographer who worked with the students.

“Day by day our Earth’s beauty gets killed and we don’t see it often, so I chose my weapon, my camera, to seize the beautiful moments so that they can be seen forever,” student Danish Ali wrote to describe his photos. “Taking photos is the way to remember those moments.”

Ethnic minority students need to have better access to education and employment, as well as greater social exposure, according to Alfred Chan Cheung-ming, chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission.

The photo exhibition acts as one such platform to spotlight ethnic minorities, he said.

“Young people – regardless of your racial origin, sex or gender ­– you are part of us,” Chan said. “You are the person you want to be. We will give you your wings and you will fly.”

The “In Light Of” exhibition will run at 120 Connaught Road West in Sai Ying Pun from January 25 to February 20.