Haunted by Hong Kong

It took me months to get over our short visit to Hong Kong. I felt haunted. We returned home in early March. After a week or so recovering from the jet lag I was back at work and starting to think about making new artworks for two summer exhibitions. I found that, although I wanted to get away from photo-based art, I was returning again and again to images of Hong Kong.

digital collage by Kelly Irving called Hong Kong Green Space
Hong Kong Green Space

Spinning my creative wheels for a month or so I couldn’t create a meaningful image of Hong Kong.  Eventually one large digital collage, face-mounted on plexiglass, made it into our Same, Same but Different… exhibition. It prompted conversations but I felt I hadn’t conveyed what I wanted to, whatever that was.

digital collage by Kelly Irving entitled Hong Kong Gazing
Hong Kong Gazing

I think what fascinated me most about Hong Kong were the contrasts: nature/iconic urbanity; container homes, coffin hotels/mansions, penthouses; old/new architecture; rampant consumerism/living on the edge.

The three bars in the top left of the image represent the hexagram for ‘good luck’, although it is sideways.  I felt Hong Kong might need good luck with its density, economy and geopolitical location. Then the protests began and the world watched as thousands demonstrated for their rights. And now the Covid 19 pandemic. I cannot fathom what life must be like there now.

Eventually last year I got past the haunting. Perhaps it was the effect of the news over the summer. Coming out of the post journey funk and back into island life.

kayaking Bedwell Harbour Pender Island British Columbia
Island Summer

1 Comment

  1. When I visited Hong Kong what I felt the most was to be in some kind of labyrinth, thanks to the tall glass buildings… I remember to feel a bit claustrophobic the first two days but, of course, the jetlag also helped it ahah all the best and greetings from Portugal, PedroL

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