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Glass artist Wong Kwok-chung, Ibrahim Mahama@White Cube & in the studio: harmonicist Cy Leo's "Harmo

2022-05-14

Glass artist Wong Kwok-chung, Ibrahim Mahama@White Cube & in the studio: harmonicist Cy Leo's "Harmo

2022-05-14
There are few materials more useful or aesthetic than glass, whether we want to look through it, drink from it, or make beautiful or decorative objects with it. People have been making and using the material for at least 3,600 years. New creative possibilities were opened up with technological advances from the glassmakers of the island of Murano in Italy, sometimes said to be the birthplace of modern glass art. Here in Hong Kong, despite the limitations of space, there are those still working creatively with glass.

Ibrahim Mahama’s first exhibition in White Cube Hong Kong, “Half of a Yellow Sun”, features fabric paintings in which he explores the history of materials, cultural identity and commerce. The title of the exhibition is inspired by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel about the Biafran War in the 1960s. Over the years, Mahama has collected materials, exchanging new cloth for old, mostly from female traders in markets across Ghana. Some of the most colourful fabrics he uses are “Dutch wax” prints, originally made and traded by Dutch companies operating along the coastline of West Africa in the 19th century. For him, the fabrics act as cultural metaphors, representing the diversity of national and pan-African identity and history.

Although many Covid-19 social-distancing rules have eased and arts and performance venues re-opened, it’s now too late for some previously cancelled or postponed performing arts events and activities to take place according to their original plan. One such event is “Harmonica Heroes”, a Hong Kong Arts Festival programme in Tai Kwun. Curated by harmonicist Cy Leo, the concert was originally going to have over a hundred harmonicists perform classical, folk, blues, and jazz pieces in the open air. It’s still happening, but the format has changed. Cy Leo is here to tell us more.

The Works

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

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