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Artist Yeung Tong-lung, Lui Shou-kwan 100th anniversary & gentrification in Shum Shui Po


Artist Yeung Tong-lung, Lui Shou-kwan 100th anniversary & gentrification in Shum Shui Po

Painter Yeung Tong-lung was born in Fujian. He was brought to Hong Kong by his family at the tail end of the Cultural Revolution in 1973, when Yeung was 17. He’d liked drawing since he was a child, but it was not an aspiration that met with approval during that tumultuous era. Today, a self-taught painter, whose large-scale figurative paintings depict Hong Kong’s everyday life, he continues to make art in what’s still a sometimes difficult environment.

Lui Shou-kwan was one of the driving forces behind Hong Kong’s ink movement. He was born in 1919 in Guangdong, but Hong Kong was his home from 1948 until his death in 1975. His abstract, individualistic and westernised approach to the traditional art form earned him the title “The Father of New Ink”. To celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Lui’s birth this year, Alisan Fine Arts gallery is presenting an exhibition of 22 of his works, painted from 1957-1975. The exhibition runs until 16th May.

It happens in cities all over the world: an area lags behind in development and houses the not so well-off members of society. Later students, young couples and maybe artists looking for somewhere they can afford to live, move in. Businesses follow them. And suddenly the poor who once made up the neighbourhood can barely afford to live there themselves. The process is called gentrification. In Hong Kong it’s accelerated by urban renewal projects and rapacious real estate developers.

The role of art and artists as agents and cause of gentrification is increasingly debated. As the saying goes: “first come the artists, then come the hipsters”. Sham Shui Po is one traditionally working class neighbourhood that’s undergone big changes in recent years.

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RTHK' s The Works focuses on Hong Kong's arts and cultural scene.

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