Siu Wai-hang has won the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize 2018 for his video work, Open Ta Kung Pao. The artist received HK$35,000 and a trophy.
The six-minute video shows the pro-democracy protest on July 1 this year as it passes the headquarters of pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao, and is a commentary on freedom of speech and the press.
First runner-up Sophie Cheung Hing-yee’s entry, Soften stones 1: Tombstone for 61 HK student suicides since 2016, is a statue made of used erasers which she collected from tutorial schools. The erasers are stacked to look like a tombstone.
“I was inspired by a primary student about eight or nine years old speaking at Legco who described the stress of going to school like being smashed by stones,” Cheung told Young Post. “I didn’t expect school would be so painful [to them].”
She said the erasers each have their own story – for example, one had holes with the words “remote control” written on it. “Even when they have a busy schedule filled with school and tutorial classes, they still made a toy.”
She believes student suicides are related to the education system. “There isn’t enough attention paid to the students’ pain. I hope people can understand the plight of their daily lives and why they commit suicide,” she said. “Art and human rights can be combined. Art is supposed to express thoughts, feelings and connect people.”
The prize, now in its fifth year, is presented by the Justice Centre Hong Kong and the European Union Office. It encourages artists in Hong Kong and Macau to explore the state of human rights both within and outside Hong Kong.
The winning works are on display in an exhibition at The Hive Spring in Wong Chuk Hang until January 11. Eaton Hong Kong, in Jordan, will then host them for public viewing from January 14 to February 3