The Forgotten Artist

(Hong Kong) Below is a short documentary film I directed a month ago. We spent less than three weeks to complete the film regarding time availability. Please keep in mind that this video version is not the final editing version, there are few things to be edited. The film is about the struggling of a local Hong Kong artist and disappearing of Hong Kong’s folk art identities.

About the documentary film:

Back to nine months ago, I met a 61-year-old folk artist, Mak Wing, at an ancestral hall in Ping Shan heritage complex. The man was sitting quietly upon statues of earth gods, focusing on his restoration works.

He placed mustache and beard on statues carefully before painting them to the original color, which took him a few months to finish all restoration works.

This is not his first restoration works. For the past decades, he has been working on many different forms of arts in Hong Kong including Chinese painting, calligraphy, seal carving, large public murals, and restoration of Hong Kong’s old temples.

Mr. Mak Wing had his first drawing since he was 7 years old. By mid 1970s, Mr. Wing had further his study in drawing and graphic design in Hong Kong. He traveled around Mainland China in 1980s to explore folk art, researching on different clans’ culture, living, mural, lacquer work, and batik.

He spent over 6 months in Kyoto in 1982 to learn the different development of oriental art in Japan; he also painted and learned a lot about Japanese folk arts.

Unfortunately, very few people acknowledge and appreciate his arts works, while Hong Kongers enjoy the growth and modernization.

With less support from the government and attention from Hong Kong people, most of Mr. Mak’s friends and folk artists from his generation had gradually changed their professions. Only a handful of Hong Kong folk artists commit to keep on their jobs.

Mr. Mak took any side jobs to make him and family survived along with his profession for the past thirty years.

Worst thing is worst; his art restoration work is now paying him less because of the immigration labors from Mainland China.

The employer pays only HKD600 per day for his restoration work, which is less than 50% of payment make by a construction worker in Hong Kong.

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