The Island Line of the MTR has been extended into Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong University and Kennedy Town and it is now open! Not only does this make Hong Kong Island more traversable and hopefully improve traffic, but they have also done something different and exciting in the Sai Ying Pun station. Starting in 1998 art by local and international artists was commissioned for many of the MTR stations. With this new station the work the art commissioned is meant to directly reflect the Sai Ying Pun neighborhood. MTR realized some history would be lost to gentrification with the added convenience and the art is meant to reflect the neighborhood as it once was.
There are several artists whose work is already up and more will be installed in the future. Most of Louise Soloway’s art has already been installed and as a friend of hers I have heard first hand how long and difficult creating this art has been. Creating for posterity, reflecting the neighborhood, and modifying work to the architecture requirements all make developing a piece of art for this type of project incredibly difficult. After 20 years in Hong Kong, Louise’s dioramas and sketches reflect her knowledge and understanding of Hong Kong, not to mention her sense of humor. The art is of typical Hong Kong life, markets, mini buses, hairdressers, things most of us walk by without ever noticing.
It is in the details, the faces; the interaction between the people shows the detailed work that was put into this art. For the next month, some of the sketches showing the process of the development of this art are on display at Ping Pong 129. The painstaking detail of going from sketch to painting to 3D installation is in evidence at this show.
Ping Pong is a super cool bar slightly off the beaten path in Sai Ying Pun. Their Gin drinks are their specialty and in the name of research I sampled a few which were all absolutely delicious! Spanish tapas are also served and the crowd is hip but not too much so to feel forced. Going at with kids would probably be alright but better to go for brunch when families will really be welcomed. Brunch is opening May 16 with Spanish breakfast, fresh fruit juices and those gin and tonics will still be available.
Heading to exit B of the Sai Ying Pun MTR and walking by the huge 3D murals, the art truly serves its purpose reminding commuters of the neighborhood that once was. Then entering the street and walking the few blocks to Ping Pong, where the creative process is in evidence is a true lesson in artistry. It is a worthwhile excursion and one kids will truly understand as the sketches and large-scale art really explain the process with out words. A lesson in art, architecture and urban development not to mention a delicious brunch!
Details: Sai Ying Pun MTR station, Exit B1;Ping Pong 129, 129 Second Street Open Tuesday – Sunday 6pm-late, Saturday and Sunday for Brunch, 9158-1584.