A topographical map by the War Office of the British government in 1949 was used as reference. As one of... Read More
A topographical map by the War Office of the British government in 1949 was used as reference. As one of the rare examples showing the ‘border area’ in Colonial Hong Kong, this strategic map included both the territories and southern China. A 2022 satellite map of the same area was employed as reference too.
In the Colonial era, the topography on the Chinese side was seldom shown in maps due to political reasons. Some maps even left it blank as if it was not a geographical entity.
The geopolitical reality however is much more complicated, resulting in a socio-political knot for decades. Hong Kong had been part of China for centuries and was ceded to Britain as a colony in 1842. As Chinese sovereignty resumed in 1997, there were immense worries in the community owing to the differences in social, economic and political institutions between the two places. After the handover, the capitalist way of living has been maintained yet the debate in democratisation remains.
A Submerged Figure
The bottom half of the painting is a back view of the upper part of a human body. He/she was prostrated on the imaginary ground of the ‘border area’ between Hong Kong and southern China. Heavily textured, the figure is intertwined and engulfed in the roadmap patterns of the surroundings. Although hardly comprehensible, the reddish brown color marks its uniqueness.
Marks Making Techniques
I painted this piece of work with a palette knife together with a brush. The two tools produced distinctive marks very much unlike each other. There is one school of painters considering a piece of work should be completed with either palette knives or brushes, but not both. The idea is to keep the marks consistent in one painting.
By applying paints with the two tools in alternate layers, I intended to achieve a visual manifestation of temperance and transcendence. Special attention was paid to develop some palette knife marks with brushes and vice versa. Some marks were kept authentic, by palette knife and brushes with their own distinctiveness.
This is also a metaphor for the unique historical phase of my hometown.