Interview Fairs China

My Hong Kong: Clara Cheung

The artist-in-residence, along with her partner Gum Cheng, at the Asia Art Archive, Clara Cheung is also the art director of the charity Art Together, and founded the Hong Kong-based C&G Artpartment gallery space

Clara Cheung. Photo: courtesy of the artist

My favourite place to relax in Hong Kong is…

The outdoor space in this city. My husband and I love to go outdoor painting with our daughters. Since 2008, we have taken our children painting at West Kowloon’s seaside on 13 May every year to celebrate International Sick Leave Day, which is a response to a popular saying in Hong Kong: “Having the time to die, but no time to rest!”

The art world in Hong Kong is different because…

It is a trading port for many valuable foreign works. Hong Kong is one of the important hubs in Asia for the art market. But works by Hong Kong artists only make up a small percentage of the total sales in Hong Kong’s art business sector. What this phenomenon implies requires more serious discussion. 

The best place for a private view in Hong Kong is…

From the rooftop of an old “Tong Lau” building. These buildings are no more than nine storeys high here, and many are surrounded by tall skyscrapers. Standing on a “Tong Lau” rooftop, you can see the activities on the street level, smell the old living spaces and listen to this city, which is full of contradictions.

Art fairs are important because…

They can push critical artists to rethink their roles in society. What does it mean when art becomes a commodity? What kind of aesthetic is embraced by art fairs? How can we make sure other aesthetic values can be visible amid an art market boom? Of course, art institutions such as museums must take a role here, but individual artists are responsible as well.

Living here makes me feel…

Secure and insecure at the same time. I feel secure because my family is here to support each other anytime. The political situation in Hong Kong is worrying though. We are currently struggling for a fair system of universal suffrage for the election of Hong Kong’s chief executive, and are also struggling to protect our freedom of speech.

I last cooked for…

My two daughters at home. It was a simple dinner, with white rice, fish balls and black fungus stir-fried together, and a quick vegetable soup. 

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