(Hong Kong, 18th March 2013) In Hong Kong, poverty is on the rise and is increasingly seen as a serious economic, social, and political problem in what is one of the world’s dynamic urban economic and cultural centres. Amidst great affluence, 18.1% of the population struggle to access basic goods and services – including safe and clean housing.
Guest of Honor Mr. W.K. Lam Convenor of the Non Official Members of the Executive Council and Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission kicked off the WYNG Masters Award Inaugural Exhibition pointing out that “humans don’t create poverty, the system does.”
The WYNG Masters Award for Photography (WMA) is a non-profit project initiated to spark public awareness and to support interest in important and socially relevant issues to Hong Kong. WMA’s mission is to stimulate discussion and to encourage the development of social responsibility in Hong Kong by employing the medium of photography to explore such subjects. In 2012, the WMA’s theme was POVERTY.
The WYNG Masters Award 2012 finalists were announced in December last year, chosen by a panel of renowned professionals including Zoher Abdoolcarim, Jehan Chu, Frank Kalero, Sze Lai Shan and John Stanmeyer. The award winning works were announced at the WYNG Masters Award Inaugural Exhibition. Mr. Ko Chung Ming’s work “‘Cents’ Mansion” and Rufina Wu & Stefan Canham’s work “Portraits from Above” won the first WYNG Masters Award jointly, receiving a cash prize of $250,000. A second finalist Mr. Chan Wai Kwong was selected for the HK$250,000 WYNG Poverty Project commission to create a body of photographic work highlighting the theme of poverty in Hong Kong. The organizers of WYNG Masters Award would like to thank all finalists for their excellent submissions.
WYNG Masters Award Judge Jehan Chu said “What I love about the WYNG Masters Award is that it inspires artists to look harder to locate meaningful images, inspires audiences to take a second glance at the social conditions surrounding them, and inspires us judges to reconsider the depth of talent that exists in the region.” Fellow judge Zoher Abdoolcarim hopes that “people will be energized to acknowledge this scourge among us and to agitate for action. So that the notion that the poor will always be with us will one day be proved wrong for Hong Kong.”
BIOS OF WINNING PHOTOGRAPHERS:
Ko Chung Ming is a Hong Kong-based photojournalist with 11 years experience. His focus is on photographic stories, profile interviews, and features. He has covered a specialist eye hospital in Columbia that helps slum-area children throughout the country, the devastating floods in Thailand that swept away auto and electronic factories near Bangkok in 2001, the rapid desertification of Inner Mongolia, China posing a severe threat to the livelihood of its various ethnic inhabitants, and the PM 2.5 air pollution monitoring controversy in Beijing. Over the years, Ko Chung Ming has received a number of photojournalism awards, including 1st prize Hong Kong Press Photographers Association – Focus at the Frontline 2007, People category and 1st prize in the Focus at the Frontline 2002, Features category. He participated in ‘Art Chat on Harbour’, a exhibition featuring Hong Kong and China artists at the Cattle Depot in 2004.
Rufina Wu was born in Hong Kong in 1980. She studied at the University of Waterloo in Canada where she completed degrees in Environmental Studies and Architecture. She was a CCSEP Visiting Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China from 2005 to 2006. Beijing Underground, her graduate thesis, focuses on migrant housing found in Beijing’s underground air raid shelters. This body of research won an AIA Medal and was exhibited in Canada, United States, and Germany. From December 2007 to February 2008, she was artist-in-residence at Hong Kong’s Art and Culture Outreach, collaborating with Stefan Canham on Portraits from Above. The project won the 5th International Bauhaus Award 2008 and was published by Peperoni Books, Berlin, and MCCM Creations, Hong Kong. It has been exhibited in Asia, Europe, and North America, including solo exhibitions at Goethe–Institut and Lumenvisum Gallery (Hong Kong, 2009), Kunsthaus (Hamburg, 2009), and Harbourfront Centre (Toronto, 2010). Her research interest focuses on informal housing tactics associated with rapid urban development and population mobility. Rufina currently lives in Vancouver.
Stefan Canham was born in England in 1968. He studied Film at Hamburg Academy of Fine Arts, Germany, and has been working free-lance on documentary photo and television projects since 1995. He is interested in the amazing and beautiful things people create even under adverse circumstances, and in their photographic representation. In 2003 he was artist-in-residence at the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Künstlerhaus in Eckernförde, Germany. His photographic record of the mobile squatter culture in Germany was short-listed for the 3rd International Bauhaus Award 2004 and published under the title Bauwagen / Mobile Squatters by Peperoni Books (Berlin) in 2006. He has exhibited in Germany and abroad and contributed to journals like An Architektur (Berlin), Critical Planning (Los Angeles), Sarai Reader (Delhi), MONU Magazine on Urbanism (Rotterdam) and Arhitext (Bucharest).
From December 2007 to February 2008, he was artist-in-residence at Hong Kong’s Art and Culture Outreach, collaborating with Rufina Wu on Portraits from Above. The project won the 5th International Bauhaus Award 2008 and was published by Peperoni Books, Berlin, and MCCM Creations, Hong Kong. It has been exhibited in Asia, Europe, and North America, including solo exhibitions at Goethe–Institut and Lumenvisum Gallery (Hong Kong, 2009), Kunsthaus (Hamburg, 2009), and Harbourfront Centre (Toronto, 2010). Substantial parts of the project have been presented in themed exhibitions, including Informal Cities at the Coomaraswamy Hall, (Mumbai 2009), Breda Photo (Breda, 2010), High-Rise – Idea and Reality at Museum für Gestaltung (Zurich, 2010), Rapid Change at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts (Auckland, 2011), and The City that does not exist at Museum Ludwig Forum (Aachen, 2012). Numerous magazines have published excerpts of Portraits from Above, including European Photography No. 84 (Berlin, 2009), Ein Magazin über Orte No. 6 (Berlin, 2009), Canadian Architect (Toronto, 2010), and ARCH+ No. 206/207 (Aachen, 2012).
From 2010–11 Stefan Canham worked with Nguyen Phuong-Dan on a documentary project about the history of migration between Vietnam and Germany. The German Vietnamese was published by Peperoni Books (Berlin) in 2011. Stefan Canham lives in Hamburg.
Chan Wai Kwong was born in Hong Kong in 1976. He left school at an early age andbegan to explore his creative side. To date Chan has self-published seven photography books including ‘The Moment’, ‘Wanchai’, ‘Ah~’, ‘Pingyao’, ‘Tokyo 1’, ‘Ting Ting’ and ‘Tenderness of a 19 yr Girl’. In 2011, he held a pop-up solo exhibition in his home titled ‘ Chan Wai Kwong Photo Exhibition’, filling every wall in the flat with his black and white portrait and street photography. His solo exhibition ‘Tenderness of a 19 yr Girl’ was held at 100ft. Park Hong Kong in 2012. Chan has participated in group exhibitions in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Pingyao, China.
From 19 March to 6 April, the WYNG Masters Award Inaugural Exhibition will be held at ArtisTree, TaiKoo Place, Island East. The exhibition will showcase the works of the seven finalists: Katherine Chan Sim-Kuen, Michael Chan, Chan Wai Kwong, Stefen Chow, Ko Chung Ming, Wei Leng Tay, Rufina Wu and Stefan Canham. An exhibition of student works generated from a series of school workshops will also be displayed at the Linkbridge, Lincoln House at TaiKoo Place.