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UNSW Art & Design and 4A presents: Socially-engaged Contemporary Art in Rural Hong Kong


Join Frank Vigneron, Chairperson and Professor, Fine Arts Department, CUHK in conversation with artists Natalie Lo Lai Lai and Monti Lai about socially engaged art in rural Hong Kong, with moderator Paul Gladston.

Mainland China is experiencing a renewal of art education in rural settings thanks to official policies developed as part of the ‘Beautiful Countryside’ initiative. This top-down initiative has seen, for instance, the establishment of brand-new teaching centres set up by major universities with financial support from the highest echelons of local government. By contrast, in Hong Kong rural art projects have been initiated mainly due to grassroots initiatives. Even though some of those projects have been funded by branches of the local government of the Hong Kong SAR, most have been led by independent artists and activists eager to explore local sociocultural identities as well as develop alternative artistic lifestyles.

Emerging from which are new regionally-grounded communities of engagement with aestheticized thinking and practice. Several of the projects in question are described in this presentation. At a time of heightened uncertainty in the Hong Kong SAR brought about by the imposition of new national security laws, artists/activists involved in such grass roots initiatives are no longer sure of the freedoms previously guaranteed by China’s “one country, two systems” framework. This discussion will take stock of socially-engaged art practices in rural Hong Kong and how they might be taken forward under changed conditions.

Oct 7, 2020 06:00 PM in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

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