Thursday, 13 April 2017

terracotta? ah me!

The eastern edge of Fanling is defined by Ma Sik Road. To the north is what would once have been the flood plain of the Ng Tung River, and further north, what I would describe as impenetrable mountain terrain. I documented the area between road and river seven years ago in Hong Kong Country, but the area has changed dramatically since then, and only the footpaths remain in their original locations.

And things continue to change! There has been no new painted art on the footpaths, and much of what I documented in Art Promenade has disappeared, particularly the frogs, but a few weeks ago, I was surprised to find what I can only describe as an exhibition of moulded clay figurines alongside the footpath.

The low wall on the far side of the path is all that remains of the residence of Lee Ming Sang, which I described in Hong Kong Country, while the painted house featured in Art Promenade can be glimpsed through the trees. I’ve started with this photo because this is the scene I encountered first, but if you were walking from Fanling, this would be your first indication of what lies ahead, about 20 metres further down the path:

This is an approximate translation of the sign:
The relationship between you and the land is…
Please take your time looking around, enjoy the clay people, who represent the people settled on the land.
This suggests to me some link between the people responsible for the artwork on the footpaths, those who took part in protests against development in the area last year, and whoever has created these ‘clay people’, although such a connection won’t necessarily be of a formal nature.

I’m not going to comment on individual figures. There are quite a few that aren’t very good, but there are some that I really do like. My favourite fantasy here is to imagine all of these bizarre figures being scaled up to human size and coming alive. I don’t think I’d be hanging around to watch what happened next. The next seven pictures are of sections of the seven-sided display platform, starting on the left of the gap seen in the photo above and travelling clockwise:

And here are some images of the figures on the low wall (in no particular order):

I don’t think these figurines are the work of a single artist. In fact, I think that they are the product of a school art class, which would explain why many of them are both crude and corny. But if my hypothesis is correct, then it’s a strange choice of exhibition space. I haven’t seen anyone else stop to take a closer look.


  1. These art work do reflect that the artists are experiencing a sense of joy, peace in mind and simple pleasure in life with the nature.

    1. A sense of fun would be my interpretation.


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