The hongkong prize is an arts award that celebrates the work of artists who have challenged the status quo through their art. This year, the judges selected works by five Hong Kong-based and two diaspora artists whose work engages with human rights issues in a meaningful way.
Artists, such as Mimi Brown and Jake Thomas, use social-art practice collaborations to highlight the challenges facing Hong Kong’s citizens. The artists have been working with migrant workers and the city’s indigenous tribe, the Truku people, to address issues related to gender, race and social justice.
They are presenting a variety of media, including video, text and painting. Their work is challenging and compelling, but also uplifting and inspiring.
A panel of five judges will select the winner of this year’s prize. The jurors include Mimi Brown, a co-founder and executive director of Spring Workshop; Eric Poon, an associate professor of practice at the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Pang Laikwan, a faculty member of Cultural and Religious Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; and Ben Quilty, an acclaimed Australian artist and social activist.
One of the most important things that art can do is to open a conversation about complex issues, like human rights. This is particularly vital in a city such as Hong Kong, where there is often little room for frank discussions on these matters. The hongkong prize, which is supported by Asia Art Archive, gives artists the opportunity to challenge the status quo and raise awareness about issues that matter to them.
The prize is open to both Hong Kong-based and diaspora artists, so the artworks can be about issues that impact local and international audiences. It is also a way to showcase the diversity of the city’s artistic talent, while providing an opportunity for the international community to see and interact with Hong Kong’s unique visual language.
Several of this year’s nominees focused on the human rights of indigenous people, including O!sland, an artist collective based in Hong Kong, who worked with the Truku people. Other nominees included Jake Thomas, a visual artist who used the language of Hong Kong’s foreign domestic workers to create works that addressed issues of identity and belonging.
In a time when many of the world’s governments are encroaching on individual freedoms, art is a tool that can help us make real change. It gives us a space to speak out about the problems we face and find solutions that can benefit us all.
This is why it is so important to encourage the arts and artists, and to give them the opportunities to be heard and viewed in an international context. The hongkong prize is a great way to help promote this important discussion and empower artists to create change in their own communities, which can then be replicated in other places around the globe.
The hongkong prize is an important event for the international arts community and will be an exciting addition to the Hong Kong art calendar. We look forward to presenting the winners at our opening night in November.