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Elaine Chiu – Before Memories Expire | The Memory Library

Exhibition details

6 May, 2021
6 June, 2021
Event Category:
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“How do we, as humans, individuals, and members of a community, embrace the destruction and recreation of our socio-economic cityscape, collective memories and interwoven identities?”
— Elaine Chiu

Growing up in Yau Tsim Mong District, one of the busiest neighbourhoods in the city, Hong Kong artist Elaine has witnessed the drastic and continuous transformation of the urban space and environment since her childhood. The transient, fluidic, intersecting memories and impressions about Hong Kong have been deep-rooted in her consciousness and self-identity.

With the effect of the amendment of the Building Ordinance in 2011, thousands of hand-written sign boards or neon-lit have since been removed all around the city. In the past three years, Elaine initiated an on-site sketching campaign to record the fleeting cityscape with her paintbrush. Street-sketching prompts her to contemplate the disappearance of numerous heritage buildings and tenement houses in the local community under rapid urban renewal.

“Before Memories Expire” is the continuation of Elaine’s previous on-site sketching and community art project. Centring her research around endangered buildings, architecture, cityscape, and memories of Hong Kong, her work explores different organic carriers and their relationship with time and people, including community spirit, architectural structures and memories, that are formed bottom-up in the urban space. This exhibition is divided into two parts. The main part “Before Memories Expire” features Elaine’s latest acrylic paintings and debuts her fresh to practice sculptural work. The sub-part “The Memories Library” displays Elaine’s watercolor on-location sketches and photos of her sketching activities.


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