WMA Masters and Commission 2017/18 – TRANSITION Winners Announced

To spark discussions on the issue of transition in Hong Kong, the WYNG Media Award (WMA) organises an exhibition at the Exhibition Gallery of the Hong Kong Central Library from today until 24 April 2018. Featuring at the event are works from three different WMA programmes, including

  • nine finalists of the current cycle of WMA Masters exploring the theme of Transition from a range of perspectives;
  • three moving image works of WMA Film by three different filmmakers using crowd-sourced footage telling the story of a day of transition in Hong Kong on 1 July 2017 from different angles; and
  • still and moving-images as well as installation works of WMA Commission by Ducky TSE Chi-tak examining the identity of Hong Kong people in transition.

The winner of this year’s WMA Masters and the recipient of the WMA Commission were announced today at the opening ceremony.

WMA Masters 2017/18

The WMA Masters invites photography-based submissions every year from both international and Hong Kong photographers and visual artists. Responding to the theme “Transition” in relation to Hong Kong, nine finalists of this cycle explored different contexts of transition including historical, political, life stages, urban, space and gender.  

A panel of renowned industry leaders in photography, art, publishing, and the non-profit sector including Zoher ABDOOLCARIM, Jacqueline FRANCIS, Yumi GOTO, Kevin LEE, LEUNG Po-shan Anthony, Gladys LI and Sandra S. PHILLIPS, selected YIM Sui-fong’s The Unlocked Space to be this cycle’s winner.  YIM will receive a cash prize of HK$250,000.

On behalf of the judging panel, Zoher ABDOOLCARIM, convenor of the WMA Masters Transition cycle judging panel said, “The Unlocked Space is an authentic set of work.  Though it may look like that the photographer had stumbled across the scene, the richness of the content captured in the transitionary flats suggests thoughtful artistic research that brings focus to the issue of housing through the project.  And this issue is the prism of life in Hong Kong.”

About WMA Masters Winner – YIM Sui-fong

YIM Sui-fong graduated from the Fine Arts Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Fine Arts degree. Her work often explores discrepancies, interpretation and tension that occur in the process of interpersonal communication by retelling one’s memory in connection to everyday life. YIM is a co-founder of Rooftop Institute; a core member of the artist collective, L sub.

The Unlocked Space

Wong Ka Chong (which means “the factory of the British colonial government” in Cantonese) was a cottage house district in which my father lived for many years. I followed the old address and found that it is now a Civil Servants’ Cooperative Building which has been left abandoned.

The system of Cooperative Buildings no longer exists. The objects had lost their owner, like a piece of history to which no one pays attention, a piece of history that can be freely manipulated, altered, deleted and defined. Does this not represent one nature of transition?  

WMA Commission 2017/18 Recipient

The WMA Commission, one of the most recognised commissions focusing on photography, invites entries for proposals from artists and photographers from both Hong Kong and the international community to create new research-based photography work in Hong Kong, focusing on the annual theme each year. This year the theme of the proposals had to contextually related to “Transition”. By facilitating and supporting original, creative interpretations of “Transition”, the WMA Commission encourages a unique perspective on how Hong Kong is affected by the theme that has global implications, while increasing public awareness and knowledge.

A five-member selection panel comprising of John STANMEYER, photojournalist and educator; Kurt CHAN, Professor, Adjunct Department of Fine Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Melissa Karmen LEE, public art curator and consultant, Dr. Linda Chiu-han LAI, Associate Professor, School of Creative Media, the City University of Hong Kong, and BUT Ho Ming, WYNG Foundation Trustee selected LEE Kai-chung as this year’s WMA Commission recipient. LEE will receive HK$250,000 grant that contribute towards the production of his proposal and a public event featuring the completed work, which will be given a place in the WMA Collection.

Tentatively titled “The Retrieval, Restoration and Predicament”, LEE’s project is to study the intertwining concept of transition in the context of Hong Kong through archival research and photography. His project will look into, the historical Queen Victoria statue, through a few interwoven layers – geographic territories the physical statue has travelled, historical events/symbol it has transitioned, as well as the material transformation of the sculpture.

“The panel is very impressed with the quality of the submissions this year, and noticed particularly the volume of solid research-based projects proposals received” commented BUT Ho Ming. “We feel that LEE’s proposal coincides with a trending approach that treats objects as an overlapping element for visual artists and historians to collaborate in exploring history.”

About WMA Commission Recipient LEE Kai-chung

LEE Kai-chung performs research on historical events, political systems, and ideology. His work addresses the lack of proper governance over the records and pending legislation for Archives Law. Through performance, documentation, and installation, LEE considers the individual gesture as a form of political and artistic transgression, which resonates with existing narratives of history.

His ongoing research project Archive of the People addresses the political standing of documents and archives in the social setting. In 2016, LEE established the collective “Archive of the People”, which serves as an extension of his personal research, and engages artists, archivists, writers and specialists from other disciplines. LEE was awarded Master of Fine Arts from School of Creative Media, the City University of Hong Kong in 2014.