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Art exhibition at Richmond Centre celebrates Hong Kong’s intangible cultural heritage

Hong Kong has lost more than cultural items, also gone are many freedoms: Au.

Contemporary artworks reinterpreted from traditional materials and artworks from Hong Kong are currently being showcased in Richmond Centre as part of an event celebrating the 25thanniversary of the hand over of Hong Kong to the Chinese government.

“Beyond Borders: Traces of Hong Kong Stories” showcases four out of 480 Hong Kong intangible cultural heritage (ICH) items. Featured artworks were created using techniques for making galvanized iron products, bamboo steamers, cheongsams, and Chinese flower buttons.

The exhibition, which runs until July 3, aims to “promote cultural exchanges through exhibiting more contemporary ICH artworks to (the) Canadian community, while sharing how ICH can integrate into people’s daily lives,” according to the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Toronto (HKETO), one of the presenters of the exhibit.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie, city councillors and MP Parm Bains joined the Consul General of the Chinese government, Xiaoling Tong, on a tour of the exhibit at Wednesday’s launch.

Councillor Chak Au told the Richmond News he enjoyed the exhibition, and items such as the mailboxes and water buckets brought back many childhood memories.

However, Au is also concerned about “the gradual shrinking of the freedom of expression” in Hong Kong during recent times.

“The exhibition aims to bring back the memories of the intangible cultural heritage of Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong has lost more than the bamboo steamer, galvanized iron mailbox, Cheongsam sewing, and flower button techniques,” Au told the News.

“Also gone are the many freedoms and rights that Hong Kong people used to enjoy.”

Au explained that subjects considered “too sensitive” have been prohibited under the National Security Law.

“Art creation is an activity which represents the artist's exploration, reflection, and interpretation of their experience with the world, and it may cause controversy sometimes.

“However, there shouldn't be any ‘red lines’ or forbidden themes for art,” he said.

The exhibit, which is located at the entrance near Cactus Club Café, is jointly presented by HKETO and Hong Kong Arts Centre and supported by the Hong Kong Tourism Board in Canada and DramaOne Canada. It features works by six Hong Kong designers and artists: Jasmine Cheung, Grace Choi, Polly Ho, Inkgo Lam, Luk Tsing-yuen, and Po Ming-wah.

An online portion of the exhibit and information about other celebratory events are available on HKETO's website.