Festival NOW '96 kicked off last week with the opening of the Being China (Being Hong Kong) exhibition at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. More than 120 artists are taking part in this year's programme. Being China (Being Hong Kong) attempts to view China through the perspective of local artists. It includes the work of Law Kun-chiu, King Jia-lun, Soman Lo, Wucius Wong, Lee Chue-shek, Mui Chong-kee and others. Interpretations of China could be easily distinguished between two groups of artists. Artists who were born before World War II, and have lived in China for some time, depict the mainland as if it was still in the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. There are photographs resembling traditional black and white Chinese paintings, old Chinese characters symbolising the ancient China and paintings featuring rural landscapes and lifestyles. Post-war artists, many of them brought up in Hong Kong, have a distinct perception of China. Not until China adopted the open-door policy in the late 1970s did they gradually begin to understand the country. Although their perceptions of China vary, there is a common ground as reflected by their works - the combination of Western and traditional Chinese painting techniques. The new art form also reflects their hopes of a modernised China. One of Lucia Cheung's paintings, Meetings as Usual , uses a traditional Chinese painting style as the soft background, contrasted with modern buildings in the centre of the picture and a new interpretation of the sky. Like Ms Cheung, Wucius Wong was also brought up under two cultures. Born in China and raised in Hong Kong, he studied art in the United States and is influenced by two clashing cultures. 'It's a bi-directional East-West journey . . .' Wong said. As shown in his work, he perceived China as a boundless mountain range, but in a geometric form. The exhibition also features the Students' Version on Being China, which showcases the works produced by secondary school students on their definition of China. The exhibition ends on Tuesday.