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CREATING ACROSS CULTURES

This settlement, known as Oil Street Artists Village, was the first such arts district in Hong Kong. Its forty units housed the studios of some of the city’s most pioneering groups, such as Videotage and Zuni Icosahedron. The counterpoint to the more traditional Hong Kong Museum of Art, which was run largely by the Ink School contingent, Oil Street was a release for the avant-garde of the 1980s, who had been educated abroad. The village lasted only a year before the government evicted them all (clearing the way to sell the property for enormous profit). Decades later, the government would realize the error of its ways and build an art center called Oi! on a nearby site. Back then, however, the spontaneous village showcased the astonishingly diverse contemporary art forms that were taking root in Hong Kong—a city that still didn’t have a museum dedicated to contemporary art. Choi’s group was eventually relocated to the Cattle Depot Artist Village in out-of-the-way To Kwa Wan, formerly a quarantine center and abattoir, built in 1907. 1a space moved into a barn there and soon became a leading independent arts space, which presented researchheavy programs, including conferences and exhibitions. Choi became the chair—a role she has held for more than two decades. Completing the Circle By the early 2000s, Choi’s campaign for arts education was beginning to show results. At the time, she was heavily involved in establishing the Academy of Visual Arts (AVA) at Baptist University, the only studiofocused arts academy to grow from a Hong Kong university. By 2013, the AVA had become one of the city’s leading art academies and John Aiken, former head of the Slade at University College London, had taken on the role of Director. The AVA now sits alongside some of the most important art colleges in the region: the pioneering School of Creative Media at City University, the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Asian campus and the fine arts programs of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong. Over a few decades, Hong Kong’s visual art education grew from nothing into a flourishing and vibrant force. In September 2014, Hong Kong’s “Occupy Movement,” demanding genuine universal suffrage, surged into life on the streets of the city. That month, Choi was deep into an art project, a powerful performance and video work called Head to Head Conversation. She placed members of the public in solitary rooms in a colonial building, cooked meals for them

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Creating Across Cultures - Choi Yan Chi  

These articles first appeared in the 2017 publication "Creating Across Cultures: Women in the Arts from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan",...

Creating Across Cultures - Choi Yan Chi  

These articles first appeared in the 2017 publication "Creating Across Cultures: Women in the Arts from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan",...

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