Hong Kong artist Siu Wai Hang has won the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize (HKHRAP) 2018 with powerful video work Open Ta Kung Pao.
Siu’s work (pictured above) was selected from a shortlist of 23 artworks as the winner of the fifth HKHRAP, co-presented by Justice Centre Hong Kong and the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao and presented at an awards ceremony and exhibition opening on 8 December. All shortlisted works will be on display at an exhibition at The Hive Spring through 11 January 2019. Eaton HK will then host the award-winning artworks in an expanded setting from 14 January to 3 February 2019. In addition, a public artist talk will be held at The Hive Spring at 3pm this Saturday 15 December. Featuring several of this year’s prize winners, Piya Muqit, Justice Centre Executive Director, Katie Vajda, Artist and HKHRAP 2018 Co-director, Kacey Wong, Artist, activist and HKHRAP 2018 judge and moderated by Enid Tsui, Senior Culture Writer, SCMP, the discussion will explore the role of art in inspiring the civil imagination. Entry to the talk is free, but Justice Centre will be accepting donations.
About the winning piece
A mesmerising video work of 6 min 19 sec, Open Ta Kung Pao is a powerful commentary on freedom of speech and press in Hong Kong. Siu’s work depicts the 1 July 2018 pro-democracy protest as it passed the headquarters of state-owned newspaper Ta Kung Pao. Edited to form a continuous loop, the middle of the frame is elongated to give the appearance of a conveyor belt and induces a hypnotic, trance-like state on the viewer while examining the futility of protest in the city. As winner of the HKHRAP 2018, Siu received a trophy created by Jaffa Lam, prominent artist and Academic Head, Hong Kong Art School, as well as HKD35,000 in prize money, one of Asia’s largest arts award packages.
Runners-up and Directors’ Choice
In addition to the winner, two runners-up were also chosen by the judging panel, which consisted of Hong Kong and international artists, as well as experts in human rights. The first runner-up is Sophie Cheung Hing Yee, whose mixed media piece Soften stones 1: Tombstone for 61 HK students suicide since 2016 comments on the pressure placed on children in the city’s hyper-competitive education system. Sophie, who is currently studying Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) at Hong Kong Art School, received HKD7,500 in prize money.
Second runner-up this year is Boxed In by Yuet Mei Lo, a three-part series of installations which explores the non-refoulement protection claimers in Hong Kong. Yuet Mei received HKD5,000 in prize money.
The Directors’ Choice Award and HKD2,500 in prize money was presented to Ching Yee Lau for Wildness in Pawn, an immersive installation piece featuring a bamboo scaffold-like structure, a custom-made neon sign that recalls Hong Kong’s traditional pawn shops, and live weeds that will transform as the installation remains in situ. The sculpture is a reminder that, like weeds, we are free and need to be tenacious to survive in our own way.
New to the HKHRAP this year are the Eaton HK Award and the Eaton Acknowledgement. Justice Centre Hong Kong is a resident at Eaton House, a co-working space which brings together activists, social entrepreneurs and creatives of Hong Kong. The winner of the inaugural Eaton HK Award was BLOOMING 2 by Ophelia Jacarini. Jacarini’s deeply personal work is a delicate embroidery that serves as a commentary on women’s rights, and the viewer is encouraged to examine the piece from all angles. As winner of the Eaton HK Award, Jacarini will receive a residency programme with Eaton, as well as have the opportunity to present a solo exhibition at Eaton’s gallery space, Tomorrow Maybe, in 2019. The Eaton Acknowledgment went to Art Women X Aanya for Creating agency and sustainable futures.
Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize 2018, at The Hive Spring, Wong Chuk Hang until 11 January; Eaton HK, Yau Ma Tei, 14 January to 3 February
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