Coins — Memories of Hong Kong
Leung’s early created works of Coins — Memories of Hong Kong features Hong Kong 20 cents, 10 cents and 1 dollar coins. By experiment different methods of blackening the coins with chemical solutions to portray images of iconic Hong Kong scenes, both existing and vanished, Leung speaks not only to his memories of his home city, but also to the inevitable changes in Hong Kong. Leung uses tens of thousands of coins seemingly as a canvas in his works, which become an inseparable part of the visual content. His works responds to the immediacy of social change in Hong Kong and identity.
"While digital, virtual and other types of transaction are globally replacing the physical currencies, I want to use coins to remind people of the value of things that existed and played a role in our lives" — Giraffe Leung
The new works in Coins - Memories of Hong Kong respond to broader subject of the changes and situations in Hong Kong over the last two years. Leung’s unique viewpoint lends a fresh perspective to the subject. His improved technique to illustrate images on metal coins allows him to speak even more fluently and in great detail. The familiar view from a window of a typical Hong Kong residential home, and seeing through the eyes of a passenger waiting for the mini bus to fill-up and depart resonates with many Hong Kong people’s everyday life. The sense of loss and longing that the artist felt was communicated in the detail of an ordinary daily scene. These works express emotions at different angles, both individually and collectively.
Characters Map of Hong Kong
In the amusing calligraphy work series titled Characters Map of Hong Kong Leung has created since last year, which was inspired by the aesthetic of traditional Chinese characters, Leung converts single lines into different shapes by filling the negative space created in a single stroke written Hong Kong street name. The shaded areas were carefully selected and inked on Chinese paper before filled up by the artist, a new gesture of Chinese writing is being formed. Character size varies lightly with each map which visually reflects the street density of the districts of Hong Kong.
The artist continues to respond to his immediate environment, and to the shared history and collective memories of Hong Kong. Through these thoughtful calligraphy works, Leung examines both the complexity and beauty of the traditional form of Chinese characters, which he believes that this artistry should be properly preserved and valued as a unique cultural treasure.
This series will be completed as a collection of 18 pieces of calligraphy writing, features street names of the 18 districts of Hong Kong.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Giraffe Leung Lok Hei, a Hong Kong based post-90s artist, worked as an interior designer for a year after completed a Bachelor’s Degree. He was then determined to pursue a career as a full-time artist. Recently graduated a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, he now lives and works in Hong Kong as a full time artist.
Leung always responds to his home environment and identity as a Hongkonger in his work that highlight the artist’s critical thinking on varies subjects, including the shared history and collective memories of Hong Kong people, social changes and urban development, etc. His art often features material that were once highly valued to many Hongkongers in everyday lives but became obsolete in rapid urban development.
In one of his early created art series, he chooses leaves as the medium to raise Hong Kong’s urban planning problems, diminishing of green areas and poor awareness in environmental conservation. On the other hand, his handwritten characters work speaks the unavoidable challenge of digital and communication platforms, where his coins work depicts a nostalgic form is being gradually replaced by digital and virtual transactions.