SOTY 2018: Visual Artist winner Amy Ge Chen of Chinese International School says art is worth the effort

By Donna Mah

The award-winning teen artist hopes people will learn to appreciate the cultural treasures Hong Kong has to offer

By Donna Mah |

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'Ruins' has received numerous local and international awards.

The 2018 Student of the Year Visual Artist award winner, 18-year-old Amy (“Aeri”) Ge Chen’s passion for art grew from her interest in storytelling.

Once a bookworm who could be found carrying bags of books home from the library, the Chinese International School student said she “became enamoured with the stories [in the books], in awe of the narrative ability to influence and inspire”.

Her passion for storytelling and her love of illustration and film helped to shape the artist she has become.

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As well as producing art at school, Aeri has also been working as an illustrator and designer which she described as creative moments that were “expressions of liberty” that served to free her mind from her demanding school workload.

Aeri has taken part in many art exhibitions and has received a lot of local and international awards. She has always made time for art, but regrets not making more of an effort to share her artwork and working with others as an artist.

“Despite my rewarding moments, one of the biggest regrets I will ever have is that … I missed out on a number of events and opportunities. I never searched for ways to share my art, because growing up I was told that art wasn’t worth the effort,” she said.

The artwork 'Broadcast', created by Aeri.
Photo: SCMP

Reflecting on her regrets, Aeri encourages herself and others to believe in themselves and break free of the limiting mindset that constant social pressure placed on her. “I would tell my old self to … fight harder for what she loved.”

While Aeri states that the current attitude in Hong Kong towards traditional success offers little room for achievements other than those that are academic, she is hopeful that more people will come to appreciate what this culturally-rich city has to offer.

“Art acts as a historical and cultural landmark, each masterpiece offering future generations a glance into theirs and others’ past,” she explained.

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“An artwork display is not only what the artist wants the viewer to see, but it also gives the receivers peeks and hints into the artist’s mindset and psychology, which also relate to the [thinking] of others in his/her time.”

Aeri told us that her most rewarding work thus far is her kinetic, or moving, installation entitled Factory. Water flows through the piece activating lights and sets wheels in motion. It is a piece that inspired her “Rubix” piece for the Student of the Year awards. She said of Factory that “as long we let the factory run, pieces of our inspiration will combine and interact, enabling new ideas and innovation”.

One day, Aeri hopes to put her illustration skills to good use in the entertainment industry, but knows herself well enough to expect that she will need to work in positions that allow her creativity to flow freely. “You will find me in whichever field enables the imagination to sprout and prosper,” she added.

The Student of the Year Awards competition is organised by the SCMP and Young Post and sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club

Edited by M. J. Premaratne