Classic Craft, Modern Meaning
Tradition meets Contemporary Art
Hong Kong, Oct 2019 — ceekayello is pleased to announce Classic Craft, Modern Meaning, a non-profit local arts and crafts programme that seeks to explore potential modern adaptions of the gradually fading traditional crafts in Hong Kong. By teaming up old masters with contemporary artists, we seek to offer new meanings to our cultural artisanal heritage and, at the same time, pass on such treasured skills to younger generations both locally and internationally.
Part One: Artist in Residence Programme (Oct – Dec, 2019)
Skills Passing On
“There’s no-one else in Hong Kong who knows how to make one by hand anymore.”
– Chan Lok-choi, 71, Birdcage maker
In our two-month Artist in Residence programme, Hong Kong’s last birdcage maker, Chan Lok-choi, and mahjong tile maker, Cheung Shun-king, shall each partner up with local artists Amanda Tong and Gohung, as well as international artists Frederic Bussiere and Jun Matsumura. Together, they will explore, reshape and create four art pieces that cater towards the modern behaviour of our society — ones that will offer the younger generation new insights into our traditional crafts. These resulting art pieces shall be exhibited on a moving public tram from March to April, 2020.
General public are invited to visit our studios at Tung Nam Lou Art Hotel and FabCafe during designated open days, where they will have the opportunity to speak to the craftsmen and artists for a better understanding of the fading culture, and how our artists translate the artisanal skills into their works using contemporary visual art practice.
Part Two: Tram Exhibition (Mar – Apr, 2020)
“Art is for all.”
At ceekayello, we believe that art should be accessible to anyone, anywhere. From March to April 2020, four site-specific artworks created by the above artists will each be displayed on a moving public tram. This will mark as the very first time sculptural artworks and installations are displayed on a Hong Kong tram for public consumption instead of private use.
All the trams in Hong Kong are designed and made using fading crafts and techniques in our local tram depots, making them the perfect fit for this tribute project. By hosting the exhibition at a public transportation that is unique and significant to Hong Kong culturally and historically, we also hope to demonstrate how art could be publicly accessible, and a contribution to our society.
With help from our artists, we will also be conducting outreach programmes on these crafts at Sàv Hotel and Tung Nam Lou Art Hotel. Sharing the similar belief with our sponsors, these programmes are closing the circle by giving back to the community.
Why are we doing this?
“There used to have more than 1,000 craftsmen in Hong Kong. It was the peak of the industry. But now of the four craftsmen remaining here, and only Mr Tam knows all the techniques.”
– Tso Chi-chung, the manager and fourth generation of the first hand-painted porcelain factory in Hong Kong
Due to our modern behaviour and industrialisation, many industries that rely on local traditional craftsmanship are losing relevance and gradually disappearing from the modern society. With the success of our previous non-profit neon art exhibition, My Light, My Hood, ceekayello wish to continue our study on different ways to create new meanings for local crafts using contemporary art. Through our programmes, we aim to evolve and transform these fading crafts into ones that will continue to sustain into the future.
Why Are We Picking These Crafts?
Remember going yum cha at a Chinese restaurant and having to listen to the cacophony of song birds in bird cages brought in by locals, and the traditional Chinese music playing in the background?
“Owning songbirds is a representative of Hong Kong and Cantonese culture,” says Chan Lok-choi, the last and the only birdcage maker left in Hong Kong. “Ever since people are unable to take public transportation with their birds, the trend has diminished significantly.”
No longer allowed to take our birds on public transportation with us, how do we, through the use of art, illustrate our relationship with our beloved pet?
Mahjong Tile Carving
“No one has joined the trade for 30 to 40 years.”
– Ho Sau-mei, Mah-jong tile maker
Remember the clacking sound of mahjong tiles from Wong Kar Wai’s movie In the Mood for Love? As a hugely popular and culturally significant game in the Cantonese culture, mahjong has long been a favourite activity for Hong Kongers, and is most commonly played during festivals such as Lunar New Year and at wedding banquets.
There are plenty of ways for today’s new generations to spend their free time… why have they chosen to sit at a table for hours, endlessly playing mahjong?
Having trained in Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, Amanda’s approach to practice is investigative, driven by research and material processes.
With a real passion for the material, Amanda graduated in 2014 with a First Class Honours and went straight on to establish her own business as a ceramics designer-maker. She currently produces her work at studio in Hong Kong.
Being born in an Eastern culture from Hong Kong but also being educated in the West has provided her a unique perspective on how design can be used, combining with a dedication in craftsmanship. The stories behind different cultures and traditional rituals are so intriguing that she often finds herself delving into the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ – and eventually they all serve as inspirations to her design work.
The creative process in ceramics is much like undertaking a journey. It fuels inquisitive discovery and brings infinite surprises; countless trials and errors and unpredictable results. Maintaining a persistent and positive approach is key to her practice, and it’s an energy that Amanda wishes to deliver through her work.
GoHung usually collects material from the street and occasionally uses materials from hardware or domestic store to create he own tools to shape or cast sculpture, he will then litter his works back on the street to be viewed as a metaphor going against the over produced and consumed first world. His recent works focus on the 1% 99% global wealth situation. His works have been publicly shown in Brazil, Denmark, Hong Kong, Iceland, and the United Kingdom.
In modern society, with the introduction of advanced technology, our environments and behaviours have evolved rapidly to adapt with this new way of living.
Better Efficiency, communication, and new entertainments are gained to enhance our living standards and we all seem to accept how the smart creations are slowly changing us.
Our beliefs and ways of thinking are subconsciously affected by this culture and the people around – this, in my opinion, is a new form of religion. As an artist growing up surrounded by the Japanese philosophy and subcultures, Jun is very much aware of how the society has shaped him. Beyond what may seem as a big step forward in human history underlies problems, potential threats and long-term consequences. He is using porcelain as his medium to reflect the fragility of this new form of religion, creating a beautiful crisis that prompts the audience to rethink about the current situations in our society and the consequences.
French-Portuguese visual artist, Frederic Bussiere is graduated from a Master in Arts in France then started an international career: Buenos Aires, Paris, Sydney and finally Hong Kong. Through his travel, his approach of art has moved from 2D animation, to fashion video, and then finally to visual arts, incorporating video projection, installation and new technologies.
Our Partners and Sponsors
Hong Kong Tramways
Tung Nam Lou Art Hotel
FabCafe Hong Kong
Date: Nov 9, 16 and Dec 21 ’19
Venue: Tung Nam Lou Art Hotel
68 Portland Street,
Yau Ma Tei,
Mahjong tile carving:
Date: Oct 26, 28 and 29 ‘19
Venue: FabCafe Hong Kong,
G/F, 10 New Street,