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Monday, July 17, 2017, 12:59
Young people using art to rediscover Chinese heritage
By Wang Kaihao
Monday, July 17, 2017, 12:59 By Wang Kaihao

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, Lee Tung Street in Wan Chai has developed a carnival-like atmosphere. 

Amid singing and dancing, there was also a huge watercolor painting, which covers an entire wall of one of the buildings in the street. It first went on display on Thursday and will stay up until July 28.

The art work I Wanna Fly combines more than 1,500 individual paintings by young people. It has been arranged with abstract expressionist methods by Hong Kong-based painter Dominic Lam Man-kit and Xu Qingping, a painter and son of art guru Xu Beihong. 

The work also looks like a combination of traditional Chinese landscape paintings and calligraphy. 

“The outstanding characteristic of this work is its bright colors, which represents the spirit of optimism,” Lam explained. “This aims to make people believe tomorrow will better and not to give up.”

This project, launched by Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, offers young people a chance to express their hopes for the future.

Flowers are the most common subject to appear among the 1,500 or so individual works.

“I used the color spectrum of a rainbow to decorate my painting,” student participant Tang Ho-chi said. 

“The main theme is a bauhinia,” she explained. “This is also a symbol of Hong Kong.”

“I choose to use bright red and purple colors,” Lee Hei-yiu, a college student who is also among the creators this time. “That is for the prosperous and steady development of Hong Kong in the future.”

“Painting is an essential part of traditional Chinese culture,” Rosanna Wong Yick-ming, executive director of Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, said. “Watercolor painting spread throughout the ancient Silk Road,” Yick noted. “It is good for the younger generation to learn about country’s history through this cultural communication.”

She said the project was an example of teamwork — something important for Hong Kong young people. 

“The event is to show young people’s dynamism and confidence and our sincere wishes for the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China,” she added.

Since 2011, her federation has organized China Week every year before the summer vacation. This is to increase Hong Kong young people’s understanding of fine art and the history of their motherland. 

The launching ceremony was also attended by Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, National People’s Congress Standing Committee member and former president of Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. She was cheered by the crowd. Fan then delivered a short speech encouraging young people to use art to promote cultural exchanges.

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