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Sharon Cheung with former Hong Kong financial secretary John Tsang at her solo art exhibition in Tsim Sha Tsui. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Balm for a divided city: All the Little Joys, Hong Kong art show by ex-journalist, intended to lift spirits

  • Former journalist Sharon Cheung’s art has a positivity that is reflected in her use of highly saturated colours
  • Proceeds of her exhibition will go to Cheung’s Lion Rock Spirit Fellowship, which funds two terms of study for a Hong Kong journalist at Oxford University
Juliette Wu

With her solo exhibition “All the Little Joys”, Sharon Cheung Po-wah is offering a temporary sanctuary of calm and optimism to a city that is becoming increasingly divided.

Featuring around a dozen paintings, the show marks the former journalist’s return to the art scene three years after her debut show “Women in the Nude World”, a celebration of what she considers “ordinary beauty”.

Cheung’s art combines the influences of Impressionism and the minimalistic work of Chinese artist Sanyu by depicting simple subject matter in brisk, spontaneous brush strokes.

“Colour is very direct, and colour never lies. … If you are in a good mood, you resist dark colours,” she says, explaining how the highly saturated hues reflect a new-found positivity in her life.

Splash (detail) by Sharon Cheung, part of the ex-journalist’s solo exhibition All the Little Joys (2019). Photo: courtesy of Sharon Cheung

The proceeds of the charity exhibition will support the Lion Rock Spirit Fellowship, a programme Cheung founded in 2015 that sends one Hong Kong-based journalist every year to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford in the UK.

Cheung’s support for the fellowship stems from her own 11 years of journalistic experience, and memories of long, stressful hours in the newsroom.
Cheung is concerned about the lack of emotional support for journalism in Hong Kong. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

She expresses concern at the lack of emotional support for journalism in Hong Kong, even while young reporters overextend themselves as they scramble to unearth the next big scoop.

“We don’t have the time to sit down, to think, and to filter ourselves,” says Cheung, who is an author and columnist.

She hopes that the opportunity to study for two terms at Oxford would allow a fellow journalist to take a step back, emotionally recuperate, reconnect with others, and breathe the air of changed perspective, she says.

Colour is very direct, and colour never lies. … If you are in a good mood, you resist dark colours
Sharon Cheung, artist and former journalist

While Cheung upholds the “Lion Rock spirit”, or “can do spirit” as the pride of Hong Kong, she believes that this culture of continuous striving and diligence also has its shortcomings.

She reminds us not to bury ourselves in our careers, and instead to “treasure what is already around us”.

When such an ambitious work ethic permeates every aspect of urban life, it becomes easy for a person to lose sight of the ordinary things that matter, such as time spent with friends and family, or a stroll in the park – all the little joys.

All the Little Joys. Sharon Cheung Po-wah Solo Exhibition 2019, Wheelock Lounge, 19/F, Block 2, Gateway Building, Harbour City, 3 Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui. 2.30pm to 3.30pm. Ends June 29.