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Culture & Leisure

Culture & Leisure

Hong Kong towards NFT art at slow pace, with unstable market factors

In the work of Hong Kong NFT artist David Leung, a cooked hairy crab on the dining table could turn into a bee-like creature, with its fangs bared at the audience.  "Sometimes I look at food, they look back at me,” said Leung. He got inspiration from the food he works with every day and started to make photograph collections of food, manipulating them into perfect symmetry monsters.   Leung entered the NFT industry earlier this year. As a part of his NFT photograph collection entitled Hairy Halloween, the hairy crab images already gained 0.3 ETH, a kind of cryptocurrency used by digital marketplace Opensea, or HK$ 2860.3 for him. Just like Leung, a number of artists or art creators in Hong Kong have attempted to explore the use of  NFT, either for art creation or trading, although the market is yet well-established. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens are blockchain-based digital assets, such as digital art or music, or tokenized physical assets, such as homes, automobiles, or papers. And every NFT has its own identification code and metadata to distinguish them from one another. The government set aside HK$100 million to push the city on the road of “art tech” after former chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced the plan in her last policy address in November 2020. And many organisations, for example, the auction house Digital Art Fair, embraced the idea of digital art assets, especially NFTs. "NFT art has recently been fairly popular with many generous investors in Hong Kong," said Heiman Ng, the Head of Business Development for the Digital Art Fair.  "This year, we auctioned 21 pieces of art in partnership with Sotheby's. A single piece by Jacky Tsai, our digital artist of the year, is worth between HK$3 and HK$5 million." About 10.7% of adults …

Culture & Leisure

Cosplay culture in Hong Kong: an interesting way for the youth to express themselves

An annual Comic Convention, HKU Cosplay Party 2022, was held on the campus at Hong Kong University on Nov. 13. This new entertainment and display activity is popular among the youth. It is becoming a new way for young people to express themselves and broaden their social circle. YouTube link:

Culture & Leisure

The fourth Hong Kong illustration and creative show: Borderless

A two-day Illustration and Creative Exhibition is held for the fourth time, compiled of about 300 illustrators from Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. The exhibition is at Kowloon International Trade & Exhibition Centre on Nov. 26-27.

Culture & Leisure

Hong Kong's neon in new art form

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Zimo ZHONG、Subin JOEdited by: Kate Zhang、Ziyu Bruce Zhao
  • 2022-12-05

In a dark room, a woman lit a cigarette and opened a refrigerator. The door was wide open, a pure blue neon glow enveloping her.  This is a classic scene from the 1988 movie As Tears Go By directed by iconic Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, who excelled in using the neon lights in Hong Kong films.  Neon lights have long been a special feature of Hong Kong’s nightscape. Tourist Oh Ae-ran, a Korean housewife, said one of the unforgettable sights of her Hong Kong trip was the numerous neon lights on Hong Kong's streets.  “I was mesmerised by the neon colours that I had never seen in Korea,” Oh said. Another Korean traveller Kwack ho-wook said the neon lights in streets are an exclusive culture to Hong Kong.  “I took many pictures of neon lights at Tsim Sha Tsui. In my view,  neon light makes Hong Kong’s night streets more active,” Kwack said. But over the last decade, the city’s iconic neon signs has been decreasing. Fewer and fewer companies are making them due to the emergence of LED lights, which are cheaper to run and come in more colours." Thousands of neon signs that had been standing for decades were turned into illegal structures overnight in 2010 after the Building Department issued a Minor Works Control System, which requires sign boards not protrude more than 4.2 metres and be at least 3.5 metres above the ground. Media have reported that 90% of the city’s major neon signs have disappeared in the past 20 years. The government Buildings Department has removed close to 7,000 “dangerous advertising signs,” many of them neon, since 2014. But as the number of signs decline for store fronts, Hong Kong's neon culture is shifting to art.  Wu Chi-kai, 55, is one of the last …

Culture & Leisure

Indie music gets the thumbs up in Hong Kong

Local "poetic pop" duo, per se, will mark their tenth anniversary next month with a concert at Kowloon Bay International Trade and Exhibition Centre. Stephen Mok and Sandy Ip founded per se because they wanted to explore a new music style beyond the rock band they were playing in. Ip and Mok categorise their songs as “poetic pop” because they want their audience the reflect and feel after listening to their songs, “just like reading poetry.”.  Over the past decade, the music industry in Hong Kong has been dominated by major production companies such as Warner Music and Universal Music. Dear Jane, of Warner Music has had nine songs with over 10 million views in the past decade .  But more local indie groups that are not attached to any commercial record labels are showing up in festivals and award presentations.  Among them, per se which has won several local awards.  “Our production focuses on the difficulties people might face in life, including challenges, separation, and the end of life,” said Ip.  The group has gained popularity over the past few years. Last year their song, Candy Crushed was one of the top 10 songs in the Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation , a major Canto Pop award presentation in Hong Kong. Their latest album includes five songs on the theme of the apocalypse in which they invite fans to imagine how they would react to the end of the world. The fourth song, The Forgiven, is about how to let go of past regrets. “The message is to stay positive when dealing with bad happenings like an apocalypse,” said Mok.  Mok and Ip are the composers, and their songs are in Cantonese and English with themes such as society, family and personal growth.  “We get out inspiration from daily …

Culture & Leisure

See the world in patterns: Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition at M+

M+ celebrates its first anniversary with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now. The exhibition follows a number of themes such as Infinity, Accumulation, Radical Connectivity, Biocosmic, Death, and Force of Life.


Creativity inside the red lines: Hong Kong artists adapt to National Security Law

Ng Kap-chuen, a cartoonist who goes by his artist name Ah To, left his native Hong Kong for the United Kingdom in April this year for fear of being jailed for his art.  Ng, 39, is known for being critical of Beijing and the Hong Kong government. He has produced a number of artworks since 2014 expressing discontent over controversial issues, such as the National Security Law, social unrest, and COVID-19 measures.   Some artists, including illustrators and cartoonists such as Ng, whose works tend to challenge and criticise the government in a satirical and controversial manner said they fear being accused of violating the NSL, implemented in 2020 after anti-government protests broke out across the city in 2019. The NSL aims to prevent, stop and punish subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts, with critics warning it could silence dissent and erode freedom in the city. “The immense pressure, terror, and uncertainty of not knowing when I would be arrested really tortured me mentally and made it hard for me to be in a good mood for creation,” said Ng, a pro-democracy artist who still draws cartoons about Hong Kong’s social issues and politics from the UK. “I don’t feel comfortable if I can only make artwork that doesn’t express all my feelings. Self-censorship is not my way,” said Ng. “I am working on some sensitive topics that other artists in Hong Kong avoid talking about. They draw about local policies while I focus on sensitive political issues.” While no artists in Hong Kong have been arrested under the NSL, in September, five speech therapists were sentenced to 19 months in prison for conspiring to write and distribute books with seditious intent. The case involves a series of illustrated cartoon books about wolves and sheep, symbolising Chinese authority …


Hong Kong Pride Parade Rainbow Market

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Yu Yin WONG、Tsz Ying CHEUNGEdited by: Phoebe Law、Jenny Lam
  • 2022-11-14

Hong Kong Pride Parade Rainbow Market brings together the city’s LGBT+ community this weekend. The theme of this year is asexuality.

Culture & Leisure

M+ museum marks 1st anniversary with debut of Yayoi Kusama exhibition, starts charging for admission

One year after opening, Hong Kong’s visual culture museum, M+, started charging admission this Saturday as it launched its first Special Exhibition, “Yayoi Kusama: 1945 to Now.” The museum charges HK$120 a ticket for general admission. However, visitors wishing to see the well-known contemporary Japanese artist’s exhibition and the largest retrospective in Asia outside Japan, have to pay an extra HK$120. “This is the first time in Greater China the full trajectory of Kusama’s art is presented in a comprehensive retrospective exhibition. It provides a holistic and unique perspective on the accomplishments of this visionary artist,” said Doryun Chong, deputy director and chief curator of M+ museum in a statement.  The retrospective features more than 200 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and installations, from the earliest drawings to the most recent ones of Kusama’s career spanning over seven decades.  The 93-year-old “Queen of polka dots” specifically made three brand new works for her first showcase in Hong Kong: large-scale installation Death of Nerve (2022), immersive art environment Dots Obsession—Aspiring to Heaven's Love (2022), and two sculptures titled Pumpkin (2022). “I think it's very impressive to see an extensive collection which is nicely curated to show Kusama’s different stages of work,” said exhibition attendee Emily Liu, 35. However, Liu is among the visitors who disagree with the museum’s new ticketing policy.  “Hong Kong is trying to promote its art and culture to the world and become a cultural center of Asia, but charging people relatively pricey tickets to enter a city’s landmark is contradictory to the concept,” said Liu.    Concession tickets, for HK$150, are available for full-time students, children between the ages of seven and 11, senior citizens aged 60 or above, persons with disabilities and a companion, and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients.  Free admission is granted for children below the …

Culture & Leisure

Historical hand-made mahjong shop survives as government halts its eviction

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Wisha LIMBU、Tsz Ying CHEUNG、Subin JOEdited by: YANG Zhenfei
  • 2022-11-09

Biu Kee Mahjong, an over 50-year-old store in Jordan, was supposed to vacate the stairway it occupies by the end of October, yet the government gave the store an extension as the landlord contacted them promising to modify the shop. “Of course, it’s not good, I may leave at any minute,” Cheung Shun-king, the third-generation owner of Biu Kee Mah-Jong, said to The Young Reporter. This stairwell store was ordered to close on Oct. 31 as the Buildings Department treated it as unauthorised building work and due to fire safety issues. As a technique listed in intangible cultural heritage inventory of Hong Kong, there are only three hand-carved mahjong stores left in the city, said Eric Wan, a mahjong instructor. The store representative said they received the eviction notice “suddenly”, and that they hoped the government could preserve the original site with conditions in their Facebook post on Oct. 5. Yet, the government released a removal order to the landlord of the building in May last year, requiring him to remove the unauthorised building works, UBWs, of the mahjong store by late July of the same year, said BD in the email answering the enquiries from The Young Reporter. The department received the tenant’s message in August this year, which said that he will submit alternative proposals to the government. “As no further information was received, the department wrote to the owner concerned again in mid-September, urging him to remove the UBWs as soon as possible,” said the department’s email. A work contractor appointed by the building owner has contacted the Buildings Department for further modification plans so far. “(Cheung) would not give up the work of hand-carved mahjong until one day he cannot make it anymore,” said the store’s Facebook post on Oct 5, “and he is not retiring …