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The Cartoon Effect: Hong Kong Through the Eyes of an Outsider


Hong Kong’s visitors continue to be inspired by our harbour city. Japanese freelance illustrator Chiaki Mori created an adorable series of Hong Kong drawings titled ‘Inspiring Islands’. Mori’s work, influenced by manga style drawing and Japanese art, perfectly captures the delightful essence of our city featuring cute, little sketches of Hong Kong’s iconic dim sum, egg tarts, trams, and ferries.

When asked about the inspiration for her drawings, Mori explained her fascination with Hong Kong’s diverse local cuisine which features dishes she rarely encountered in Japan. “During my stay in Hong Kong my Japanese friend, her husband, and friends from Hong Kong took me to popular local restaurants. I was able to go to many food stalls, cha chaan teng’s, and yum cha, which I would’ve been too scared to go to alone because I don’t speak Cantonese,” Mori told Localiiz. She didn’t hesitate to mention to us that her favourites were crispy fish skin (鮮炸魚皮), almond tea (杏仁霜), and tofu fa (豆腐花)!

Mori was equally enamoured with Hong Kong’s fusion of old and new culture, in districts such as Central, Mong Kok, and Wan Chai. “I saw old buildings that have been renovated into stylish cafes, boutiques and work studio for young artists, right next to traditional markets. I also visited the famous bird, flower, and goldfish markets and enjoyed watching the animals, plants, and landscapes of Hong Kong. I thought I could walk around the area forever.”

Mori hopes to return to Hong Kong soon as an artist in residence to create new work, specifically by drawing the less gentrified streets that still remain in Sheung Wan, Wan Chai, and Mong Kok. “To me, these are very interesting places where I see a mix of Chinese and Western cultures as well as old and new cultures.” She also hopes to hold an exhibition, or create a book of her drawings as well to share with the world.

We’ll definitely be keeping our eyes open for Mori’s future exhibitions here! Check out more of her work on her website, Facebook page, or Instagram.

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