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  • Dec 10, 2018

Siu Wai Hang Wins 2018 Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize

*Last updated on December 12, 2018.

SIU WAI HANG’s video installation Open Ta Kung Pao (2018) was announced the winning work of the 2018 Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize. Courtesy 2018 Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize.

On December 8, the Justice Centre Hong Kong and the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macau co-announced Siu Wai Hang as the winner of the 2018 Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize (HKHRAP), which recognizes the thought-provoking practices of Hong Kong artists who explore the state of human rights both at home and abroad. The artist received HKD 35,000 (USD 4,478) and a trophy designed by Hong Kong artist Jaffa Lam. 

Siu received a BA from the City University of Hong Kong and a MFA from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His photography and new-media works often mine the concept of identity and investigate sociopolitical tensions related to Hong Kong’s past and future. His award-winning video installation, Open Ta Kung Pao (2018), looks into the media, power and hegemony in South China, specifically in relation to the oldest and still active pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao. He was selected from 24 shortlisted artists, including Cheung Hing Yee, Lo Yuet Mei, Cathleen Ching Yee Lau, Ophelia Jacarini, Art Women X Aanya, Leung Mong Sum, Gemma Abad Calajate and Pit Hing Yang.

Regarding the award, executive director of the Justice Centre Hong Kong, Piya Muqit, said: “In a year where we have seen a number of fundamental rights at risk in Hong Kong, it is heartening to see the arts community continue to support and participate in the Prize, expressing and communicating their views through their creativity.” Co-director of the 2018 HKHRAP, Katie Vajda, added: “After a difficult first round of judging, we have seen a remarkable group of artists progress through to the shortlist this year. Their human rights-themed work reflects the year that was politically, the zeitgeist, expressed powerfully through their chosen medium. We were also encouraged to see the diversity of entrants chosen for the shortlist, including artists from the migrant worker and refugee community.”

The jury panel for this year’s HKHRAP included founder of Spring Workshop Mimi Brown; co-founder and executive director of Asia Art Archive Claire Hsu; professor of cultural and religious studies at Chinese University of Hong Kong Pang Laikwan; documentary maker and associate professor of journalism and communication at Chinese University of Hong Kong Eric Poon; Australian artist and human-rights advocate Ben Quilty; and Hong Kong artist and activist Kacey Wong. 

On December 12, the hotel-cum-cultural hub Eaton HK announced Ophelia Jacarini as winner of the Eaton HK Award, which is part of the HKHRAP. Jacarini was selected by a different jury from a group of five finalists—including Cathleen Ching Yee Lau, Leung Mong Sum, Gemma Abad Calajate and Pit Hing Yang—drawn from the HKHRAP shortlist. Jacarini's winning embroidered work, Blooming 2 (2018), was chosen for its "brilliant combination of poeticism and resilience" according to the press release.  As the Eaton HK prize winner, Jacarini will receive a residency at Eaton HK; a HKD 25,000 (USD 3,200) grant for the development of a solo exhibition at Eaton HK's art gallery, Tomorrow Maybe; and an unrestricted cash prize of HKD 5,000 (USD 640).

The Eaton HK Award jury comprised Katherine Lo, founder and president of hospitality, arts and media company Eaton Workshop; Chantal Wong, director of culture and image, Eaton HK; Dirk Dalichau, managing director, Eaton HK; and Royce Ng, former artist-in-residence at Eaton HK.

The HKHRAP award ceremony on December 8 took place in The Hive Spring, where an exhibition of the shortlisted artists’ work, curated by artist Sampson Wong, will be on view through January 11, 2019. Eaton HK will present a group exhibition of the five Eaton HK Award finalists from January 14 to February 3 at Tomorrow Maybe.

Julee WJ Chung is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor.

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