PICK OF THE WEEK:: From our Nov/Dec issue: Chow Chun Fai - "Citizen HK"

Dec 29, 2014 2:08AM

It’s good to know there’s an artist like Chow Chun Fai in Hong Kong, who invariably deals with the city’s ever-changing identity head on. It is as if you know someone who’s always got your back—a friend you can always count on. Because, for Chow, existing in the art world is not a matter of choosing either a commercial or a grassroots approach; rather, it is a matter of inhabiting a transitional space in order to mediate between these two, often oppositional, poles.

Of course, this position reflects a number of things about Chow. At once an artist and a provocateur, he is also a community representative and organizer. For one, he is the chairman of the Fotanian Artist Village, which represents the numerous artists and designers currently residing in the Fo Tan industrial zone in Hong Kong’s New Territories, where Chow has kept a studio since 2003. He is also a member of the Factory Artist Concern Group, which speaks for artists living and working across Hong Kong’s industrial zones. Indeed, in 2012 he ran for a seat in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (Legco), through which all primary legislation is enacted. This was a controversial yet awe-inspiringly savvy move on his part—because, as he told me recently, “What I try to fight for is a general public cultural right.”