Dora Hon – “Memories of King Kowloon”

The “Memoris of King Kowloon” Exhibition is held from April 20th to May 31st at ArtisTree, 1F Cornwall House, TaiKoo Place, Island East in Hongkong. The Main Exhibition shows about 500 exhibits including circa 300 original calligraphy works of Tsang Tsou-choi and 11 units of tribute artworks from 11 overseas and local artists. The Area is divided into 6 zones (Footsteps of the King / Treasures of the King / The Royal Family / Original works of His Majesty / The King’s Death / Long Live the King).

King Tsang Tsou-Choi was the number one Wonder of colonial Hong Kong. Even during its time as a British colony, Hong Kong was bizarrely ruled partially by His Majesty, until some time after the 1997 handover.

- A Map of the Kings footsteps -

King Tsang Tsou-Choi, 51 years of scribbling, 80 locations over Hong Kong, Estimated 55.845 pieces of work, Estimated 1.170 litres of ink used.

- Space Invaders -

An art work by well known Space Invader – During his visit, Space Invader produced his artpiece in Tsang’s home. This was his first indoor creation and was kept in Tsang’s house.

- Tools used by the King -

Tsang rebelled by writing on whatever wall he encountered at hospitals or police stations, accumulating more than 50,000 mural pieces. It was Hong Kong’s unique treasure of art. The art has been disappearing as skyscrapers rise up.

- A very unique style… -

Tsang wrote on whatever he could reach with his unique style.

- Another picture frame created by the King -

- Family Tree -

Admiring his art, most Hong Kong people had been too busy to study the royal family tree. Originally named Tsang Choi, the King started off as a young refugee escaping the Japanese from the mainland at 16. He got married at the age of 35. He had once worked as a pipe-cleaner, coolie and garbage collector.

- The Royal Family -

The King had a big family, reportedly with four sons and four daughters. None of his children had the least intention of inheriting his kingdom. Three had died and the two eldest daughters had emigrated to Britain and Holland.

- The Royal Family II -

- The Royal Family III -

- The Royal Family IV -

- Original Works of His Majesty – CD of popular group in Hong Kong-

Hong Kong has long been debating whether Tsang’s scribbling should be treated as ‘art’. Is he simply a nut or a black-and white Van Gogh of the Orient?

The King is a paradox. His writings are crude and primitive, but genuine of his own naivete. In a nation where copycats are common but originality is rare, Tsang, refusing to know his head, is a model. There is a strong sense of rage and faith in his brushstrokes. It is no surprise that these virtues were first discovered by some Italians, who intited him for an exhibition in Venice in 2003. Western lifestyle magazines interviewed Tsang and hailed him an artistic conscience of Hong Kong. Even Sotheby’s once sold a writing of the King for HK$500,000 (ca. 64.000 US$) in 2009.

- Original Works of His Majesty – Bearbrick -

- Original Works of His Majesty – Toy Design -

- Original Works of His Majesty – Fashion Design -

- Original Works of His Majesty – Movie Promotion -

- Original Works of His Majesty – Shoe Design -

- Original Works of His Majesty – Cellphone Design -

- Original Works of His Majesty – Toy Design II -

- Original Works of His Majesty – Toy Design for a japanese Brand -

- A TV Set showing the life of the King -

The death of King Tsang Tsou-Choi in July 2007 raised a sentimental uproar in Hong Kong. People suddenly discovered a big loss. Sometimes history is made funny by lunatics. Hong Kong people realize they have much to learn from Old Uncle Choi – he is the only Bohemian in the Pearl River Delta. Tsang refused to live a life like many other HongKongers; eating, horse-gambling, karaoke singing, and foot-massaging. He was simply different. Daring to be a bit different is such a big virtue. He was a man of true freedom.

- A Wall at the venue, let you feel how the King feel! -

2007 – In October, Tsang was described as one of the most representative personalities in Hong Kong by South China Morning Post’s publication, Hong Kong in Our Collective Memory.

For Photo Odyssey,

Dora Hon (Hong Kong, China)

All Images are © 2011 Dora Hon. All rights reserved.

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