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Creative Collaboration Transcends Borders and Boundaries: Hong Kong at Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale
Natalie Ho
at 10:56pm on 27th February 2022


Captions:

1. The banner at the entrance sets the tone for the visit, it says: "breathing freedom at one’s (countryside) hometown".

2. Historical research images provided to Lam by the local team in Echigo. 

3. While half of Hong Kong House is left starkly empty, the other half of the house is a rich tapestry of evocative texts, paintings and moving images. 

4. The University of Hong Kong art students created videos inspired by the history and culinary arts of Hong Kong and Echigo.


This year marks the commencement of the fourth exhibition of “Hong Kong House at Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale”, commissioned by the Art Promotion Office (APO) of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Featured Hong Kong artist Lam Tung-pang was unable to visit the site in person due to travel restrictions and had to rely on research and the help of local people to complete this project remotely. 

 

With the pandemic disrupting the way people work and live in a fundamental way, artists also have to navigate this strange new world in their attempt to create art that is relevant today. In this context, the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale (ETAT), one of the largest international outdoor art festivals in the world, has become a platform that takes creative collaboration between international artists and the local community to a different level.


ETAT scatters the artworks across some 200 villages in the Niigata region, prioritising community building over optimisation and efficiency that usually take precedence in the world of contemporary art. Hong Kong House is located at Tsunan, a village that Lam had to learn through literature, interviews with locals, Google maps and other secondary sources to imagine himself being there and create his work Half-step House.


Meanwhile, the local team in Niigata helped Lam by answering his questions about Tsunan, and provided him with pictures of locations and domestic items that could offer him inspiration about life in Tsunan. Lam said the artist is like a glue that puts everything together. So while he collected these images and items from Tsunan and its surrounding area and eventually distilled them into themes and sceneries, he also added distinctively Hong Kong elements to make his work an interaction between the two places–a rural comm