Hong Kong Protests in Oil by Chow Chun-fai at Gallery Exit [Extended]

Why We Recommend it

Hong Kong-based artist Chow Chun-fai’s newest oil paintings depict the recent Hong Kong protests, presenting a heightened sense of urgency in their portrayal of a city in crisis.


Gallery Exit presents Portraits from Behind, a solo exhibition of new works portraying the recent Hong Kong protests, by Hong Kong-based artist Chow Chun-fai.

For this exhibition, Chow has produced a series of mostly small-format paintings. Taken together, they portray a city in crisis: scenes from the mass protests, violent clashes and indiscriminate arrests that shook the artist’s hometown in 2019.

Like much of Chow’s previous work, his new paintings revolve around the question of Hong Kong’s identity. Like many other Hongkongers, Chow was left deeply disturbed and shaken by the events of 2019. Unable to focus on his other projects, he started to paint scenes from the protests as a way to process his emotions.

Based on photos and other image sources such as live streams, Chow’s newest works have an almost documentary quality to them. In the only large painting in the exhibition, a two-metre-wide panorama of the mass protests at Hong Kong’s international airport in August 2019, the crowd is portrayed in a strictly factual way.

Chow’s paintings adopt a street-level perspective instead of forcing an interpretation onto the viewer. Viewers will witness the clashes like ordinary Hongkongers did when they suddenly found themselves in a tense and rapidly escalating situation.

In their immediacy and directness, Chow’s paintings resemble the quick social media snapshots shared by citizen journalists during the protests. Committing those scenes to canvas, however, lends them a heightened sense of urgency.

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When: 14 Mar 2020 - 15 Jun 2020 Where: Gallery EXIT – 25 Hing Wo Street – Aberdeen