Curator Chantal Wong has always been impressed by the powerful works submitted to the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize (HKHRAP)—especially those by individuals who might not have come from a particularly arty background. She vividly remembers Ophelia Jacarini’s embroidered female bodies that explore women’s sexuality, empowerment, freedom and trauma, as well as the black and-white images laying bare the physical abuse suffered by Hong Kong’s domestic workers by photographer Xyza Cruz Bacani, a former maid herself.
“Some people are formally trained, some people are not, but that does not define the value of the artwork,” says Wong, who co-founded Learning Together, a charity that supports young refugees and asylum seekers in their education, and is director of culture at the Eaton hotel. “This is one of the few prizes where people don’t have to be trained, and that really does add an element of unexpectedness. It fundamentally shifts the way we think about who is an artist in society,” she adds.
1. Can you see me yet 2? (2014) by Katie Vajda, which won the Hong Kong Human Rights Art Prize (HKHRAP) in 2014 2. Blooming 2 (2018) by Ophelia Jacarini 3. The HKHRAP exhibition in 2018 4. Open Ta Kung Pao (2018) by Siu Wai-hang, which won the HKHRAP in 2018 5. Soften stones 1: Tombstone for 61 HK students suicide since 2016 (2017) by Cheung Hing-yee
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