Street art Pac-Man mysteriously bleeps back to life in Tin Hau

Copy of French artist's work mysteriously reappears after it was removed by officials

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 March, 2014, 5:20pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 March, 2014, 5:04pm

Pac-Man is back. After an outcry when the street art was removed by officials from a Tin Hau wall because of "safety" reasons, a copy of French artist Invader's public "gift" has mysteriously appeared in the same place.

Invader, whose work has graced fine art galleries across the world, said he appreciated people's support and he encouraged the public to recreate his works.

"It's very nice and comforting to get that kind of support," Invader told the Post. "I [would] like to imagine that, in the future, the same governments or cities that are organising the destruction of my creations will decide to restore them all."

Neither the Highways Department, which has been responsible for taking down street art since the days of the late "King of Kowloon" Tsang Tsou-choi's calligraphy, nor the Home Affairs Bureau, which handles arts and culture, accepted responsibility.

The Highways Department said it was only responsible for road safety, while the Home Affairs Bureau said there were "different views" on graffiti. "Each public place varies," the bureau said.

It is understood there was no communication between the Home Affairs Bureau and Highways Department despite criticism over the removal of Tsang's calligraphy.

Invader's Pac-Man was removed by the Highways Department on February 13.

The original work was a mosaic of ceramic tiles featuring the characters from the iconic arcade game Pac-Man. The new version is made of plastic tiles that strives to recreate the original on the same wall on King's Road, between Fortress Hill and Tin Hau.

Invader creates mosaics featuring his signature motif, aliens from the 1970s arcade shooting game Space Invaders. He first visited Hong Kong in 2001 and in January he returned to create 48 news pieces.

He says he has "artistically invaded" more than 60 cities around the world and the Hong Kong government was the first to "systematically and rapidly remove the art from the streets".

"I am, of course, very saddened and affected by these removal actions," he said last week.

Some local artists last week called for a "Space Invaders Restoration Scheme" in response to the removal of street art.

Hong Kong artist Kacey Wong, who designed a poster that has been circulated online, previously, said when asked about Pac-Man's resurrection that he had not taken any action, but he was glad someone acted.

He said the poster idea was initiated by a handful of volunteers that included architect Alvin Wong and designer Michael Leung, the man behind urban beekeeping initiative HK Honey.

Wong urged people to be inspired by Invader's spirit and take action instead of doing nothing.

Invader said of Wong's work: "The poster is very well done but I guess it is not to be taken at face value. I see it more like a warning; a way to inform people and to get them to react."