Has HKwalls street art festival 2016 engaged the community successfully? HKwalls街頭藝術節2016年能成功使社區參與嗎?

(Article was written in English and translated into Chinese for purpose of this blog) (原文是英文,為了這個博客翻譯成中文)

As a local Hongkongers who adore street art, I was excited about HKWalls which started the first and foremost organized street art movement since 2014. HKWalls aims to provide artists opportunities to share their work with the public, taking away the gallery and creating works of art in the street for all to enjoy. Its grassroots initiative, in 2014, was run on a budget in hip neighborhood Sheung Wan. It attracted sponsor, agnès b, in 2015 at the waterfront of Stanley. These two locations were considered more westernized and gentrified even before the movement. The mural are amazing and match with the identity of the Soho & Sheng Wan communities.
作為仰慕街頭藝術的香港人,對自2014年以來的HKWalls街頭藝術節很興奮 ,首先HKWalls旨在為藝術家們提供機會,與公眾分享他們的作品,離開畫廊走到街上供大家欣賞。2014年,在上環用很少的預算進行。它吸引了贊助商,agnès b, 於2015年在赤柱海旁進行。這兩個位置被認為是比較西化,甚至在運動前已經仕紳化。這些藝術作品壁畫精彩,與蘇豪區和上環的地區個性相匹配。

 

I am concerned when it moved across the harbor to the grassroots area Sham Shui Po (SSP), the district with the lowest median monthly household income. SSP is home to a shifting population of street sleepers, sub-divided units and cage houses.
2016, 它移到基層地區深水埗(SSP)舉行,深水埗是平均每月每戶最低的收入區。 SSP是露宿者之家,很多細分單位和籠屋。

Does the art itself tied to the local’s culture and identity? Does the 50/50 ratio of local artists and artists from overseas understand the community good enough to create art that are related to the communities?
我擔心,想了解街頭藝術本身是否需要依賴當地的文化和身份?50/50 當地和海外藝術家的安排能充分了解該社區嗎?

 

Why does engaging the community a prerequisite for street art? Its because first and foremost, drawing on the walls required owner’s permission. HKWalls chosen SSP because a community of young entrepreneurs and local shop owners who moved into SSP, contacted them to paint their shops. New generation of creative entrepreneurs found that the working-class Kowloon neighbourhood is a heaven of low rents and friendly neighbours.
為什麼了解當地社區是街頭藝術的先決條件?因為在牆壁上繪畫先要業主的許可, HKWalls選擇SSP是因為該區的年輕企業家和商店業主要求他們畫自己的商店。新一代創意企業家發現SSP是低租金的天堂,也擁有友好的鄰居。

讓我們來看看結果。HKWalls 2016
Let’s look at the result. The Art of HKWalls 2016 in Sham Shui Po

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Street art is amazing because it often aroused public awareness on socially relevant content infused with esthetic value which is often free from perceived confines of the formal art world.[i] Street art attracts attention to a cause or as a form of “art provocation”.[ii] As argued by Buzzell, street art can be a powerful platform for reaching the public and a potent form of political expression for the oppressed, or people with little resources to create change.[iii] Street art has a tendency to attempt to transform the established social order and its structures of power, authority, and hierarchy, promote, impede, or direct socialpoliticaleconomic, or environmental change, or the desire to make improvements in society and to correct social injustice.
街頭藝術精彩的地方是因為它經常為社會相關議題注入藝術性,引起社會公眾關注,而這些議題往往擺脫了正規藝術世界的認知局限。[I] 街頭藝術往往吸引關注或為“藝術挑釁”的一種形式 [II]  Buzzell 認為街頭藝術可以接觸公眾和被壓迫者政治表達的一種有效形式,或者是擁有較少資源的人的創造轉變的強大平台。[III] 街頭藝術傾向改造建立起來的社會秩序及權力,權威和階層,促進,妨礙或改變社會丶政治丶經濟丶環境變化,或者使社會進步,並糾正社會不公。

For many international artists, however, HKwalls is a first taste of Asia’s art scene. The content of the art is left totally up to the artists with the exception that they do not paint anything offensive.[iv] According to an interview by SCMP, Hong Kong-born street artist Kristopher, mentioned that “The population in Sham Shui Po is ageing and sometimes it’s hard to communicate with them regarding art and design nowadays, so hopefully having artwork right next to them will help them to understand, or even participate.” Clogtwo, a street artist from Singapore, hopes that the artists are able to generate flow of the human traffic. Local artist, Ryck, hope to bring a bit of joy to people’s lives and the owners found their wall embellished and special, that the neighbourhood will embrace the free art as their own unique property.” The organizer, Jackaline Chow, who was born and raised in Sham Shui Po hope the artworks drew more local and international visitors to the area, hoping the people value the older parts of Hong Kong, along with the new, modern contemporary arts.”[v]
對於許多國際藝術家,HKwalls是亞洲藝術平台的第一個試點,內容完全由藝術家決定。[四] 據南華早報採訪,香港出生的街頭藝術家Kristopher 提到,“深水埗人口老化,有時很難與他們講解藝術和設計,所以希望有作品在他們旁邊會幫助他們理解,甚至參與。“Clogtwo來自新加坡的街頭藝術家希望藝術家們能產生的人流量。本地藝術家,Ryck,希望給大家帶來一點歡樂和業主發現他們牆上的藝術特殊,深水埗居民會把這些免費藝術視為自己獨特的財產。” 組織者,Jackaline Chow,在深水埗出生及長大,希望用新的當代藝術品吸引了本地和國際遊客前往該地區,希望人民珍視香港的舊區。” [v]

The street art at SSP are beautiful decorations but none of these art pieces deliver any messages that are related to local stories of the district at all. It can be placed anywhere with the same impact. None of the artwork factoring in the interests and needs of the community, not to mention that this year’s street art festival is heavily commercialized with sponsor. The skate board culture that the brand embraces are not popular culture in SSP. This event even sets up a pop-up store in Sham Shui Po to promote the branded shoes. As argued by Ahkok Wong, the guest lecturer at Lingnan University and Baptist University, it is an advertisement for the brand. There is a huge gap of what the artists trying to achieve and the community’s responses. As I go to Ap Liu Street at SSP quite often, I have personally interview the owner of the stalls, Mr. TK Chan, located right before Invader’s art pieces as shown below. He found the art piece interesting and is a good decoration near his stall yet he has no idea what it represents and how it related to Shum Shui Po or Hong Kong. Further research is required, yet I doubt if the Shum Shui Po communities in general found themselves related to the recent street art movement at all.
SSP的街頭藝術是美麗的裝飾,但這些藝術作品沒有表達與該地區有關的任何訊息。它可以放置在任何地方帶來相同的衝擊。沒有任何一件作品反映該社區的需要和興趣,更何況今年的街頭藝術節很商業化。贊助品牌的滑板文化並不是SSP流行文化,該品牌更在區內建立了一間臨時店,在深水埗推廣品牌。嶺南大學和浸會大學客座講師 Ahkok 說它是品牌的廣告,藝術家試圖實現的與地區反應差距甚大。我很多時候去鴨寮街,試過親自與檔口老闆陳先生傾談,他認為藝術作品有趣且靠近他的檔口但不知道它與深水埗或香港有何關係。當然需要進一步研究,但我懷疑深水埗居民對這些藝術作品產生共鳴。

It seems to me that the winner is the brand who sponsored the event; market it so well among the media publications. As a result, gaining very successful brand recognition through the street art festival.
在我看來,獲勝者是贊助活動的品牌,在不同媒體廣泛報道,結果是品牌達到非常成功的宣傳效果。
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Remarks: It’s a homework that received surprisingly good grades and comments:
“Well informed, well articulated research issue; demonstrable skills in relevant research practices; able to provide a developed rationale for choice of research methodology.”
“Evidence of analysis which potentially contributes new ideas, processes or knowledge to the field or is ground breaking in a way that would be recognized as valid by experts in the field.”
“Takes full responsibility for own learning and development through iterative cycles of well articulated purposeful analysis and planning, supported by extensive evidence.”

備註:這份功課收到出乎意料的好成績和評價:

“Well informed (唔識譯),明確闡述研究問題;在相關研究實踐具有論證的技能;能夠為研究方法提供了一個合理的闡譯。”

“具實證的分析並為該領域貢獻新的想法,嶄新的見解而該領域的專家會確認為有效。”

“承擔自己的學習和發展,通過大量的證據支持,明確闡述目的,反覆分析和規劃。”

註:

[i] Schwartzman, Allan, Street Art, The Dial Press, Doubleday & Co., New York, NY 1985
[ii] Strausbaugh, John (5–11 April 1995). “Reneissance Man”. New York Press. 8 (14). Manhattan, New York, USA: Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. p. Cover, 15, 16
[iii] Buzzell, Colby. “I am Banksy: a phantom with a stencil and a can of spray paint, maybe the premier ‘guerrilla street artist’ in the world, Banksy is almost impossible to find, but his work is everywhere and he makes people very, very happy.” Esquire Dec. 2005: 198+. Academic OneFile. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
[iv] http://www.stylebyasia.com/hkwalls-street-art-festival-coming-to-sheung-wan-offer-artists-your-wall-space-interview/
[v] Chan, T., Mar 25, 2016, WATCH: Street artists transform one of Hong Kong’s oldest neighbourhoods, Sham Shui Po, South China Morning Post, http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/travel-leisure/article/1929980/street-artists-bringing-life-one-hong-kongs-oldest
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