This work was made by an artist, Kang Ya-Chu, during her three-month residency in Hong Kong in 2019. Ya-Chu was intrigued by Hong Kong’s transportation network of the entrepot, the reclamation project since 1850, the daily encounters, and also the place you are now standing on – Tsuen Wan, where used to be a textile industrial area and were created by land reclamation. Based on the above inspiration, she gave a performance and created a work, named Dirt Carpet #8 – Hong Kong.
The Dirt Carpet was laid out in the form of the five-cent stamp. Stamp has commemorative value; posting a letter with a stamp, it helps us deliver messages, connects us with the others and facilitates communication. ‘xian;’, which is ‘cent’ in written Cantonese, according to the artist, is also like showing us the harmonious relationship between human and nature. Most of her encounters in Hong Kong, for instance, a trolley from the textile industry, a road sign of Cotton Path, and even a volcano shaped Hong Kong Island she learned from an exhibition about Hong Kong history, are bringing together to form the content of this stamp of Dirt Carpet, which also documents what Hong Kong is, through the eyes of the artist.
Ya-Chu’s residency was in the middle of Hong Kong’s social movement originated from anti-extradition bill movement. Protesters re-imagined the use of public spaces and public facilities on the streets. With different visitors, display locations and social conditions, all those graphics on the work can be given a wide interpretation.
As a Taiwanese experiencing this social movement in Hong Kong, the artist had a feeling of unease, struggling between the relationship among Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. Therefore, she transformed the performance, which is transient, into this permanent painting, through the medium of graffiti.
The artwork was conceived during the period from September to November 2019.
Supported and collected by Centre for Heritage, Art & Textile/ The Mills 2019 Residency Project