Sep 13, 2012|
I’m locally born. I was brought up here. I had all my education here. I thought of studying overseas but I was too poor.
My parents are not well educated. It’s very difficult for them to totally understand the political situation. It always reminds me of how the general public receives political messages. I could be talking about something too “high”—art, ideology—which common people, like my parents, won’t understand. They always remind me that if I’m doing something for the public, it has to be about the public.
In the beginning, I didn’t know what kind of art I wanted to do. My first prize was actually for script-writing, not painting. But [in the end] I decided to pick up visual arts. I finished high school and went into the Chinese University’s fine art department. But at that time I actually didn’t know anything about art at all.
There are many taxis in my paintings because my father was a taxi driver. When I was still an art student, he decided to be an owner. We didn’t have money, so we borrowed from the bank. We had to pay a very heavy loan. Taxi licenses are extremely expensive —it’s now $5.6 million for one, and there are only 10,000 licenses in Hong Kong. It’s crazy!
My father got sick in the first month because he [had] a stroke. He’s fine, but he can’t talk or walk. For a long period of time—around seven to eight years—I ran the taxis and paid the loans. Now I feel that it was a very important experience. I painted from my own daily life, and recorded my own history.
People think that if you’re an art student you’re too unrealistic, romantic, into your own dreams. But I learned how to be an artist and survive in the actual world. I became more practical when I was studying.
I’ve been working in the art field for more than 10 years. I’ve spent quite a lot of time working on art policies, especially since I’m part of the Factory Artists Concern Group. I have been here since 2003 and I was one of the founders of the Fotanian Open Studios event. We became a union of different types of artists from different industrial areas.
A long time ago, I didn’t believe in political art. I thought art was for art’s sake. I could go on and do quite well in the contemporary art market, but I think even though I gain on the economic side, it doesn’t help the whole community, so I became the chairman of the Factory Artists Concern Group, and now I’m running in the elections.
We don’t have an actual Cultural Bureau, though it’s coming in the new government. But every time we’re talking about cultural policy, no one from the government can respond. And every time there’s an issue, like the copyright issue [the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2011], cultural representation is absent. The people included are music companies or filmmakers—they’re more like the merchants or distributors.
A cultural representative has been absent for a long time in this kind of policy making, whether in the Legislative Council or the governmental system as a whole... Cultural elements should be distributed between all government departments, not just in the Cultural Bureau.
The combination [of sports, performing arts, culture and publications] is quite ridiculous. Timothy Fok [the representative from 1997-98]concentrated on sports—ball games. He did nothing with the cultural sector.
I’ve been in the Kung Fu club since I was 14. The traditional style [of kung fu] is struggling with the new styles. Some of the new styles are formulated by the central government because they want to have a more systematic kung fu style. Of course there are many other sports, too. I would say kung fu practitioners wouldn’t understand what badminton players face, but we are all in the same sector [according to Legco].
When I was writing my statement, I was writing to the whole public of Hong Kong. This is strange because only 2,500 people can vote for this functional constituency, so I could have just concentrated on them. But cultural issues affect all people in Hong Kong.