Mollywood - Art by Joey LEUNG Ka-yin

One's destiny is but a karmic cycle of three previous lives. Prosperity and hardship are feeble passages. We are born into this secular world only to experience this never-ending trouble like three thousand hairs.

From Dream of the Red Chamber (18th century) by Cao Xueqin, this poem portrays the mental stage of Cao's characters, their relationships and conflicts, and pinpoints the philosophical intention of the novel – the karmic cycle of life. Using hair as a metaphor of trouble or a state of disillusion reveals a deep Buddhist sentiment where any material thoughts stem from within (our head). A full head of hair, therefore, would block our perception of the world and essentially our path to nirvana. To be a Buddhist monk, one must shave his head to maintain clarity.     
In a city like Hong Kong where material and mundane matters prevail, it would take extraordinary effort to see things with such clarity and conviction. Artist Joey Leung Ka-yin is gifted with such talent. Her body of work in the past decade has demonstrated a keen observation and understanding of the world she lives in. To confront her surroundings, she chose comics over gimmick. To get her message across, she composes her own lyrics rather than borrowing from others. Her paintings are never nostalgic nor pay homage to any distinctive genres. They present the contemporary world as it is – one filled with bizarre people, peculiar episodes and sometimes wonderful chaos. When so many artists today are preoccupied with gender issues and feminist ideals, she confronts this cynical world with clever mockery through text and images. 

Like a Buddhist monk, the pinpoint precision of her messages give her painting a profound substance beyond its fantasy like façade. Curiously, Leung's present exhibition, Mollywood, is about troubles and worries like the three thousand hair. But instead of shaving it off like a monk, she elaborates on these issues by piling up the hair, a lot of them, to form mountains and valleys. These hairy landscapes are metaphors of our troubled land where we can no longer avoid or simply shave off.  A sense of helplessness is somewhat obvious. Yet, like the characters in the Dream of the Red Chamber, Leung sees these events as a cycle thus what goes around, comes around, whether it is prosperity or hardship.


Henry Au-yeung
March 2018



Leung Ka-yin, Joey, an independent artist in Hong Kong, received her BA (2000) and MFA (2007) from the Department of Fine Arts, Chinese University of Hong Kong. Leung combines traditional Chinese painting and popular culture in her works. She explores the use of contemporary writing equipment to present the flavour of Chinese art, trying to push the boundary of different media. The stories in her artworks depict her feeling and fantasy towards modern life. It's also an attempt to introspect the value of tradition in contemporary world. Joey has been creating the series of "Photo-mirror" since 2012. The juxtaposition of photo and drawing constructs a dialogue between "observation" and "imagination". 


梁嘉賢於2000年取得香港中文大學藝術系文學士,2007年畢業於香港中文大學藝術系創作碩士課程。 梁氏主修中國傳統繪畫,並結合流行文化元素創作,利用不同工具呈現中國畫的氣氛,模糊差異之間的界限。其作品描寫現代生活中的個人感知與想像,反思傳統影像在當代媒體傳承與混雜下的價值。2012年起開展「照片鏡」系列 - 攝影與繪畫的並置創作,嘗試建立「觀看」與「想像」之間的對話。


Mollywood - Art by Joey LEUNG Ka-yin


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