‘Arrivals and Departures’ explores the collision of cultures and its affects on a rapidly changing city which is a continual influx and migration of population.
Curated by UK-based Sally Lai and Yuen Fong Ling, in collaboration with Hong Kong-based curatorial partners Howard Chan and Siu King Chung, Arrivals and Departures features over 20 separate art works. The 10 new commissions show the artists’ responses to the shifts in Hong Kong’s cultural identity from its colonial past to its future as part of one of the world’s largest economies.
Their sources of inspiration are diverse ranging from tourist imagery, cityscapes, myths and family histories woven into lived experience.
British artists’ work in ‘Arrivals and Departure’s includes a large-scale painting by Gordon Cheung, who has recently exhibited in the John Moores Painting Competition and the British Art Show 06. His work, entitled ‘Journeys to the West’ is inspired by the Chinese mythological stories of The Monkey King which he has used as an allegorical personification of China’s journey in adapting to Capitalism.
Anthony Key explores the role and rituals that accompany food in creating a sense of cultural belonging. His three pieces in the exhibition include ‘Bok Gwai’ (White Ghost), a complete life-size kitchen created by deconstructing the
ubiquitous and iconic Chinese takeaway tin-foil carton into flattened plates which have been stapled together to form a skin, which in turn has been pressed, burnished and formed around objects to create a cast of an entire kitchen.
Yuen Fong Ling’s ‘Portrait of the Family’ involves the Manchester and Glasgow based artist in a series of life class events held before and during the exhibition which will explore identity and create a representation of the development of his family as a result of immigration from China to the UK. The process of staging and documenting these events also aims to uncover how art and the making of art is an essential part of basic human emotions relating to absence and presence.
Artists from Hong Kong include Mee Ping Leung who has exhibited in Russia, Australia, USA and Korea and has been selected as the Leading Contemporary Asian Artist by Art Asia Pacific. Her work will comprise of some 50 pieces of Hong Kong street art which she has collected presenting Hong Kong through the eyes of a tourist – the Disney World, Bruce Lee and Hong Kong cinema portrayed far removed from reality.
Pak Sheung Chuen, is an award winning artist who exhibits extensively in Hong Kong and a writer with a regular art column in the Sunday Mingpao. His two pieces focus on the merits and pitfalls of urban planning illustrated in his depictions of a zebra-crossing and a street-crossing.
Tam Wai Ping attended Slade School of Art and this is first UK exhibition in over 10 years. His work represents the merging and dispersing of two cultures in a specially crafted ice brick containing sand from Repulse Bay – a popular tourist spot in Hong Kong (its sand imported from mainland China) and ice from
the UK. As the ice melts the sand sinks, a metaphoric depiction of Hong Kong where China and Britain met.
‘Arrivals and Departures’ is the first contemporary art exhibition curated exclusively for Urbis, following its popularity with visitors earlier in 2006 with the British Art Show. As the UK’s only exhibition centre dedicated to the expression of city life, Urbis is showing ‘Arrivals and Departures’ following on from ‘The China Show’, which together explore a fascinating part of the world that for generations has been steeped in myth and misunderstanding.