Commuting becomes a work of art for the masses

Local | Bernard Chan 28 Jul 2021

When we think of viewing art, we normally associate it with people moving quietly through pristine galleries and curated museums.

The "Art in MTR" initiative challenges that notion by putting works in rail stations for all to enjoy.

It aims to enhance the daily lives of the millions who regularly use the MTR, incorporating accessible and vibrant artwork into ordinarily mundane spaces.

Years in development, Tuen Ma line, part of the MTR network linking Ma On Shan line, Tuen Ma line phase one and West Rail line to Kowloon, is now fully open.

The new line, with six stations, presents an opportunity to showcase new artwork. Six local artists were chosen to create site-specific art for these stations, ensuring different communities are represented with authenticity.

At Sung Wong Toi station, Earth Song depicts the passage of time. Inspired by archeological discoveries found at the station site dating back to the Song dynasty, artist Fiona Wong creates a contemporary reinterpretation using ceramics, drawing on the artefacts' historical importance.

At To Kwa Wan station, Home by Leung Mee-ping displays a collage constructed from photographs of 100 different "homely" objects, amassed over the years by neighborhood residents.

Both these pieces evoke strong feelings of community, whether in the past or present, and a reminder that the spaces we think of as ordinary are often imbued with underlying significance.

Commuting on the MTR amid the hustle and bustle is an experience that is all too familiar for us, so next time you are at a station, take a moment to look around for artwork. Maybe you will find someone else doing the same and share for a moment a special bond of community in an unlikely place.

Bernard Charnwut Chan is chairman of Tai Kwun Cultural & Arts Co Ltd.

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