The winner of the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize was announced at the Hive Spring on Saturday, December 8, with the judges and Eaton HK also awarding the first and second runners-up with the Director’s Choice prizes and the Eaton Acknowledgement. We take a look at the artwork that won over the judging panel and brought some important social issues to light.
Hong Kong takes pride in its status as Asia’s World City – a cosmopolitan and multicultural hub, but it also faces a host of human rights challenges and concerns. Many of these have served as inspiration for the 23 shortlisted entries of this year’s Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize, which brought key questions to the forefront of discussion. Such issues included the plight of refugees in Hong Kong, issues of domestic servitude, and freedom of expression in the city.
The judging panel awarded first prize to Siu Wai-hang, for his piece, Open Ta Kung Pao. Siu’s video – which runs for over six minutes – elongates the centre of the frame, depicting life on a conveyor belt-like loop. The piece questions freedom of speech in Hong Kong and demonstrates the monotony of everyday life, and the never-ending quest to achieve our goals and fight for rights without having them fully realised.
Cheung Hing-yee’s Soften stones 1: tombstone for 61 students suicide since 2017 was awarded the first runner-up prize. The fragile sculpture comprises a series of worn-down erasers collected from tutoring centres arranged in a symbolic tombstone, mourning the young people who suffered from extreme stress and pressure as students in Hong Kong.
Lau Ching-yee was awarded the Director’s Choice accolade, for the installation piece titled Wildness in Pawn. Eaton HK’s prize was awarded to French artist Ophelia Jacarini for Blooming 2, which questions the universality of women’s rights as fundamental, human, and equal rights.
The shortlisted artworks will remain on display at The Hive Spring until January 11, before select works move to Eaton HK from January 14 to February 3.
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