Rebuilding the culture of creativity

Business | 19 Sep 2019 3:30 pm

Once a city as famous around the world for its film outputs as for its iconic skyline and culinary delicacies, Hong Kong has seen only meager progress in the development of its creative industry over the past decade. Change is afoot however, with an increasing number of corporates coming on board to invest and unlock the potentials in the community.

Leading the charge to boost the city’s creative credential is Hong Kong textile conglomerate LAWSGROUP, which has been steadfast in supporting homegrown creative talents. One of its latest moves is the launch of the ‘Top 10 Artisans Award’. Organized under the initiative ‘Made In Hong Kong,’ the Award honors the city’s pioneering ideas, with the sole aim to propel Hong Kong’s creative sector forward.

Since its inception in 2018, the ‘Top 10 Artisans Award’ has attracted enthusiastic support across the city. This year, over 200 local artisans and market organizers took part in the contest at LAWSGROUP’s creative shopping mall D2 Place, showcasing a plethora of concepts and artisanal goods, including leather crafts, quirky illustrations, furnishing, and garden décor.

“Every design has a style, a look about it, which is something I just adore,” says Dr. Allan Zeman, the Chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group and one of the judges at this year’s awards, describing what impressed him most about the event. “Instead of conforming to society, these artists have taken the road less traveled to do what they love doing,” he continues.

Hong Kong has not traditionally been considered an art hub. Creative careers at large are still fighting for respect and recognition amongst careers in fields such as commerce and technology. “In the old days, young people are discouraged from going into the creative industry,” says Dr. Zeman, but he sees a paradigm shift brought about by the rise of the internet. “There is a rising urge to do something totally different. Social media changed everything; it’s empowered young people to express themselves.”

“There are just as many creative talents in Hong Kong as there are in other parts of the world. The problem is, we lack the culture, as well as the platforms where creatives could present their works,” Dr. Zeman pinpoints. And this is precisely what LAWSGROUP seeks to address through its event.

In his opening remarks at the Top 10 Artisans Award Prize Presentation Ceremony 2019 held on 31 August, Mr. Bosco Law, Deputy Chairman and CEO of LAWSGROUP, as well as the judge of the event, reiterated the company’s commitment to bolstering the development of local arts and creative industries and celebrate the abundance of talent the city has to offer.

“Good design is universal across cultures and generations. We hope, through our partnership with the creative community, the government, the business sector, and education organizations, to promote Hong Kong design abroad,” says Mr. Law. “We hope this event provides a platform where young designers can realize their potential and scale up the ladder.”

Same as last year, the “Top 10 Artisans Award 2019” consists of two categories: “My Favourite Market Organizer” and “My Favourite Artisan”. Illustrator Johnee Lau, who is best known for his creation Galaman -- the armpit-inspired superhero, was crowned champion in the second category. He said that the Award was a recognition for creatives like him and expressed his hope that such achievement would pave the way to more opportunities.

“His work stood out a lot,” praises Dr. Zeman, who took part in the judging along with five other judges in the panel, including Mr. Law, Prof. Eric Yim, Chairman of Hong Kong Design Centre, Ms. Alison M Friedman, Artistic Director of Performing Arts at West Kowloon Cultural District, and Mr. Johnathan Zeman, CEO of Lan Kwai Fong Group.

“As a judge, I look at things through the customers’ eyes. It’s about being creative, not just in the product, but also in terms of the presentation and packaging,” Dr. Zeman elaborates.

While creativity is indisputably one of the drivers of success, he believes perseverance is perhaps even more important. “Follow your dream, hold on to what you believe, and do what you love doing, because only then will you improve,” urges Dr. Zeman as he shares his experience for those who aspire to make it in the industry.

He emphasizes that Hong Kong has always had a creative knack, and now is the time to put it to good use. He welcomes more initiatives such as the Top 10 Artisans Award. “Now that the world is catching up very quickly, Hong Kong needs to stay ahead of the curve. The creative industry is the drawing card. It makes our city unique. The more creativity we can engender in Hong Kong, the stronger a place it will be,” he stresses.

“Let’s seize the time now to redress the balance between business and creativity,” he concludes.

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