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A Centuries-Old Craft From Guizhou Finds a Fresh Silhouette in Hong Kong

"When British Chinese textile designer Elaine Yan-ling Ng first visited a series of villages in Guizhou, China, back in 2013, she had no idea what her voyage would bring about.

She ended up falling in love with the region’s sophisticated techniques for weaving and batik, a dyeing method for producing designs on a piece of fabric with hot wax. These craft skills date back as far as the 6th century, but few are being passed along to the next generation. Most young women from Guizhou prefer to spread their wings to nearby cities; staying in their home village and weaving scarves with their mum isn’t quite what they perceive as an exciting career path. [...] 


So how does one do justice to an ancient craft, bring it to the 21st century and make people in cities like Hong Kong talk about it? Cue Arnault Castel, an adventurous Frenchman whose love for Wong Kar-wai’s iconic film Chungking Express made him buy a one-way ticket to the Fragrant Harbour in 1996. A decade later, he founded Kapok, a lifestyle shop that has grown into a chain with several locations in Hong Kong and Singapore. At Kapok, locally-designed products by rising talents sit shoulder to shoulder on shelf with carefully curated paraphernalia from established international brands such as Common Projects, Hay, and Maison Kitsuné."

Capture Memories With a Photographic Walk Through Wan Chai with Kapok

"Wan Chai is an entire universe inside a single neighbourhood. It’s the red light district of The World of Suzy Wong, a place where skyscrapers tower over prewar shophouses, where a good cup of coffee is just as easy to find as herbal tea. It’s home to family-run cha chaan teng and century-old temples – along with hip bars and boutiques.

All of this makes Wan Chai is an extremely photogenic place. It’s where Canadian photographer Greg Girard took his beautiful nocturnal photos of streets bathed in a sultry neon glow, and where German photographer Michael Wolf has captured mundane yet striking details — makeshift chairs, colourful laundry — in the district’s many back alleys." 

Interview with Hong Kong Arts Festival Director Tisa Ho


"[A good performance] makes the good things in life seem even better and it offers consolation when things are not quite so wonderful. It’s a very safe space in which to explore ideas and emotions that you can’t and don’t live out." 

Interview with The Hong Kong Neon Heritage Founder Rui de Brito

"Raising awareness is The Hong Kong Neon Heritage’s first objective, and I think that we are getting the message through. A lot of people are sharing their photos and videos with me, and I’m receiving messages from Hongkongers saying, “The neon signs were here all my life and I never really noticed them, but now I look at them in a different way,” which is great.

And then we’ve got more ambitions objectives [to work on], but for those objectives to succeed we’ll need more people — artists, designers, journalists, poets, directors, architects, you name it — to help us. I understand that the Hong Kong government has different priorities and chooses to focus on other issues that Hong Kong is currently facing, so we’ll have to do all the work and present them our plan to save the remaining neon signs." 

Interview with GRANA founder Luke Grana

"The idea for GRANA first came about when Sydney-born entrepreneur Luke Grana was visiting his brother in Peru and came across Pima cotton. The fabric’s plush feel inspired him — along with his dissatisfaction about the lack of quality, and high mark-ups in traditional retail stores — to disrupt the market with a fresh take on eCommerce.

In true American dream fashion, Grana then moved to Hong Kong armoured with an ambitious plan and all of his savings, got Dutch investment banker Pieter Paul Wittgen on board, founded his eponymous brand, and the rest is history."

Movie Reviews (Dutch)

"Samsara laat echter wel mooi zien hoe alles constant in beweging is. We creëren, consumeren, verfraaien en vernietigen. We hebben allen onze eigen rituelen en routines, maar doen in grote lijnen eigenlijk ook allemaal hetzelfde. [...] Al met al geeft Fricke’s en Magidsons werk meer dan genoeg stof tot nadenken. Samsara maakt je ervan bewust hoe weinig je weet, en hoeveel je niet wil weten. Hoeveel moois er op aarde te zien is. Hoe vreemd de mensheid en het leven in het algemeen eigenlijk is."

"Jammer is dat in het laatste gedeelte van Frances Ha de filmmakers zich er een beetje gemakkelijk vanaf maken door in sneltreinvaart naar het einde toe te werken. De film, die zich iets meer dan een uur focust op de geleidelijke ‘coming-of-age’ van de protagonist, lijkt in de laatste tien minuten een groot gedeelte van de ontwikkelingen in Frances’ leven over te slaan, hetgeen afdoet aan het realisme van het verhaal.

Dit ene minpuntje daargelaten, is Frances Ha in haar geheel een actuele en charmante film, die voor vele twintigers en dertigers van nu herkenbaar zal zijn."

"De fotogenieke beelden en (filosofische) vragen die Die Wand oproept – Besta je als mens niet alleen bij de gratie van anderen? Is de vrouw gevangen of juist vrij nu zij niet meer in het keurslijf van de maatschappij zit? En wat is deze mysterieuze wand nou eigenlijk? – maken echter dat deze sobere film het waard is om te zien."

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