Society

Art exhibition disCONNECT HK takes over tenement building to reflect on COVID-19

Fourteen artists will showcase their works in an exhibition about connection, belonging, isolation, and the role of technology under the pandemic by taking over a restored 1950s Hong Kong historic tenement building.

Local non-profit arts organisation, HKwalls is collaborating with Schoeni Projects, a contemporary art project based in Hong Kong and London to launch disCONNECT HK from October 11 to November 29, featuring artists from Hong Kong, the UK, Germany, Italy, Iran, Portugal, and Spain. 

"Everyone needs a bit of art and everyone is craving it, especially when we are having such a hard time now," said Jason Dembski, 39, founder of HKwalls. 

The entrance of disCONNECT HK

Organisers decided to hold disCONNECT HK at a rehabilitated tenement building to inherit most of disCONNECT LDN, the original project which took place at an 1850s Victorian townhouse in South West London from July to August this year. 

The three-floor exhibition in Causeway Bay is open to the public for free, but appointments have to be made online in advance. To further allow the public to access the exhibition, HKwalls is also offering a 3D virtual tour at Hysan Place, which enables visitors to revisit disCONNECT LDN digitally.

Visitors have to take the stairs to go through the whole exhibition.

Despite the exhibition situated in the centre of the city, it has not been capturing much attention. 

"When we invite visitors to the 3D tour,  people usually hesitate," said Hui Wai-sze, 28, an assistant curator from the Schoeni Projects. 

Ms Hui believes that education in Hong Kong has a huge impact on how people view art, in particular, street art. “A lot of us were educated that street art is not as presentable as other forms of art, and is not a proper medium to express our feelings and thoughts,” she added. 

She hopes through holding more family-friendly arts events like disCONNECT HK, the general public could have a better perception towards the culture.

Mr Dembski similarly thinks that it is merely a matter of time, determination, and funding to hold more local art events in Hong Kong, even though he believes that the city is more inclined to the finance and business industry.

Hong Kong artist Wong Ting Fung is seen painting at the venue.

Founded on a shoestring in 2014, Mr Dembski said HKwalls has been receiving fundings from various agencies, like M+, as they build a name for themselves. The organisation is ready to embark on more collaborations with art associations such as Schoeni Projects and Hong Kong Design Centre in hopes to make street art accessible to more people and to create more exposure for artists.

《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) is an English news publication produced by international journalism students at Hong Kong Baptist University. It started as a printed magazine in 1969. Today, TYR is produced across different platforms.

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