The Art of Sham Shui Po
Written by Megan Chan
On the 5th of September, Year 10 visual art students had the unique opportunity to explore and study the urban lifestyles and bustling streets of Sham Shui Po. Led and organised by the Visual Arts department, the field trip was meant to provide students with the chance to photograph and sketch scenery that captured local Hong Kong culture. Two trips around Heng On preceded the Sham Shui Po trip. Around Heng On, students were able to exercise their photo-taking and sketching abilities by observing still life around the area. However, Sham Shui Po posed itself as an opportunity for students to better understand a part of Hong Kong they were unfamiliar with and rarely got to visit.
Guides familiar with the area led the students through all the ins-and-outs of Sham Shui Po. Such locations include colourfully vibrant fabric markets, the serene view of Hong Kong’s landscape from atop a mountain, historical artefacts stored in the museum, and the buzzing and lively wet markets.
“The reason that we wanted to bring the trip in is because we wanted students to connect with the local community,” explained Kate Sparrow, head of the Secondary Visual Arts Department at RCHK, “and to gain a sense of the situation for the people living in public housing estates in HK.”
The Year 10 students are currently looking into how urban environments can signify notions of culture and identity, looking at artists such as Michael Wolf and Ian Murphy for inspiration. Through this, students developed their artistic interpretations and their ability to portray still life in HK through drawing and photography. The photos taken on the trip could be used later when students begin to form their own photography collections, as inspired by Wolf’s work.
“The art trip gave us a chance to practice our realistic sketching skills further,” commented student Audrey Lau, “as well as see parts of Hong Kong’s community that we wouldn’t normally go to.”
This field trip was the first time Year 10 students were able to explore the places in Hong Kong outside of Heng On, with a provided guide who gave insightful comments on historical facts to further their understanding. Before that, students only had opportunities to explore Heng On, significantly limiting their scope.