“We must have met before…probably at one of the Christmas parties in East TST or a boat trip gathering during the 80s? Or did we go to the theatre for “Chungking Express” or more likely Danny’s concert in 1991 at the Coliseum? Did we meet while shopping at those trendy arcades? I’m pretty sure we have met but our memories are fading away like ink on old letters. Let’s have a drink and reminisce what may have happened between us, shall we?”  

Gallery by the Harbour proudly presents “Have We Met Before” from now to 27 September, the latest solo exhibition by Yeung Hok-Tak, following his solo exhibition “Harbour” in 2016. The exhibition features the latest paintings by the artist including more than 40 canvas paintings and a handful of works on paper in two phases. Through the artist’s unique sense of humour and surrealistic approach, audience can evoke fond memories and reflect on the changes amidst these years in Hong Kong.

Born and raised in the 70s in Hong Kong, Yeung Hok-Tak studied illustrations professionally and made his debut in 2002 with the publication of his solo work “How Blue as my Valley”. It caught a lot of attention in the comics industry and was well received both locally and internationally. Since 2004, Tak’s comic column has been published every week and later as books with 6 series for “Biu Tung Wa Jap” and 2 series for “Cool Blooded Theatre”.

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In recent years, Tak has been fully involving in painting creation, with different techniques and pigment, such as watercolour, acrylic and oil paint. He considers himself “poorly trained” in terms of painting. But because he is “poorly trained”, he won’t be categorized as or limited to a certain type of artist. He can paint and draw in whatever styles he wants, and create different types of arts. What’s more, he believes that there are no specific ways to appreciate or interpret arts.

“Have we met before” seems like a pickup line we hear from time to time, but to Tak, it can be applied to matters or places. They change inevitably throughout the years. When the reality differs from the memories more and more every day, and when the scenes that you were once familiar with have become distant, like a stranger you think you are supposed to know but don’t, you can’t help but ask, “Have we met before?” And it’s how this question has become the title of the exhibition.

Tak deems himself “a person of the past” because he gets “stuck” to it: Most of his works are in the background of Lam Tin and Kwung Tong, with occurring appearance of public housing estates and old buses (aka “hot dogs”), inspired by his childhood and teenage years. He also likes to paint both sides of Victoria Harbour, especially Tsim Sha Tsui, not only because he’s greatly inspired by the early pop culture, but also because he likes drawing symbols of an era, such as Hong Kong Clock Tower and Star Ferry.

The exhibition, “Have We Met Before”, is not only Tak’s reflection on Hong Kong, but also a place filled with the truest collective memories of Hong Kong, which will make you lost in nostalgia.

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