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‘Going Beyond’ the Canvas: Skate Decks for TWGHs Charity

‘Going Beyond’ the Canvas: Skate Decks for TWGHs Charity

Artists and Celebrities Transform Skateboards for Charity Auction in Hong Kong
Artists and Celebrities Transform Skateboards for Charity Auction in Hong Kong

S kate decks might be the perfect canvas for artists to express the character and dynamism of Hong Kong’s culture. The medium is accessible, playful and open to limitless possibilities. Bringing together skateboard deck art designed by renowned artists and celebrities from all over Asia, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and Sotheby’s Hong Kong commemorate the Group’s 150 years with a charity auction to be held 18 to 28 August. TWGHs 150th Anniversary: Skateboard Deck Art Online Exhibition will show close to 60 unique works, and proceeds of the online sale will be used in support of TWGHs students' arts and music education.

Double click the exhibition to enter full screen.

During a year of many global challenges, the artists from the region gathered to interpret "For Charity, We Go Beyond," the anniversary slogan of TWGHs. Also contributing to the designs are artists from i-dArt, the community inclusive gallery established by the Group to connect people with different abilities. It is this spirit of optimism and community that makes these works especially valuable – with some of Asia’s most creative visionaries behind each board: contemporary artist Wang Xiao Bo, artist Kong Kai Ming, calligrapher Sze Chi Ching, fashion designer Guo Pei, photographer Wing Shya, and illustrator Lee Chi Ching are among the luminaries working to inspire future generations of artists and musicians.

In some works, TWGHs' community aspirations are represented through symbols of Hong Kong, as in Vivian Ho's We Go Beyond - Over the Mountain and Across the Sea, which shows goldfish and residents move purposefully together over and across all obstacles. That collective spirit abounds in Jeffrey Lau Wan Kit's My City. The Place Bound Us Together, where popular characters from his comics represent contrasts of East and the West, or old and new, and yet are united by the same irrepressible energy of the metropolis.

Nostalgic images of the city feature prominently across the many lots. Iconic photographs by Yau Leung offer a glimpse into the bygone era of 1960s Hong Kong, and together with the skateboard decks challenge traditionally held notions of modernity. Lau Kin-wai’s photographs of street calligraphy by Tsang Tsou Choi, dubbed the “King of Kowloon,” show the iconic graffiti amid high rises set against Lion’s Rock or seen at Victoria Harbor pier. Alan Chan explores the identity of a place – i.e., what it means to be Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Wing Shya answers this question by connecting the illusion and reality of movie sets. These images present powerful symbols full of emotional resonance for those born and raised in Hong Kong.

The skate deck itself presents an compelling contrast, as some artists choose to transform the unconventional medium into a canvas for traditional art forms such as calligraphy and landscape painting. When Lee Chi Ching painted images of mist, clouds, mountains and water, he used the natural wood grain of the deck to suggest the empty space aesthetic in Chinese ink paintings. In contrast, Venerable Chang Lin's Shan Shui explores the ever-changing aesthetic standards of art by deviating from the traditional concepts of calligraphy and blurring the lines of paintings. Another transformation of the artform is demonstrated through Wong Ting Fung's deconstruction and rearrangement of characters, layering traditional calligraphy with modern color-blocking structure to simultaneously express the words “Tung Wah,” “Hong Kong,” and “benevolence.”

There are many references to icons of pop culture such as Old Master Q, as Joseph Wong pays a touching tribute to his father in How's Your Day!? Other heroes from childhood include Bruce Lee in Yu Nagaba’s Enter the Dragon and the legendary swordsman Dugu Qiubai (Sword Devil) from Jin Yong's wuxia novels, reimagined on a skate deck designed by Lee Chi Ching. Meanwhile Ip Yan (Plastic Thing) harks back to retro paper dolls of the 70s and 80s, and Kasing Lung and Chino Lam both draw inspiration from outer space and created endearing characters not of this world.

What's notable about the many designs is the uplifting optimism and irrepressible sense of humor. That brightness is pervasive from the bubbly multicolored smiley faces of Shen Jing Dong's work to the sunlit panorama of Victoria Harbor painted by Yim Yee King (Ah Chung). These works guide our gaze upon the city with wit and effervescence.

Other artists focus on the little joys of everyday life and culture. Lego artist Andy Hung as well as actress Carina Lau separately focused their designs on the red-white-blue plastic bag, which like the city represents a real and durable enterprising spirit. Specific foods are not only important symbols for nourishment, not only physical but also emotional, bringing to mind thoughts of home and security. For Virginia Wu Yung, Charmaine Sheh, Alex Fong x Paul Lung, Nicholas Tse, Leong Iat Hong, this idea of comfort comes in the form of street snacks, curry fish balls, butter and condensed milk toast, pineapple buns. Hong Kong-style cafes and yum cha restaurants are signifiers of the city’s everyday life and culture, shown in the designs of the group Craving Sketchers and entertainer Sammi Cheng. For others, it’s the handwritten signs on minibuses, the bustling streets swamped with pedestrians and vehicles, the tightly packed local markets or the playgrounds on public housing estates that capture the rhythm and pace of this city.

Find more of these special skateboards designed to inspire all of us to “go beyond” for charity. Detailed descriptions of the works as well as the designers’ insights in their own words are available in the online catalogue.

Contemporary Art
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