Hong Kong artist Eva Leung, who relocated to the UK in September last year, has produced a series of double-exposed analogue photographs that combine scenes from her home city and her new home to depict the complex identity of Hongkongers living abroad.
The project known as The Overlapping Memories of Hong Kong and the United Kingdom was part of Leung’s dissertation for her master’s degree in Creative and Cultural Industries Management at Northumbria University.
It features dozens of pictures shot on film by Leung in the UK and by her friends in Hong Kong. The 30-year-old told HKFP that she first asked the photographers in Hong Kong to use a roll of film to record their lives and their thoughts and impression of the city. The film rolls were later sent to Britain, where Leung would shoot on top of the existing images.
“I decided to blind double-expose the photos which mean both artists in Hong Kong and Britain wouldn’t know what images were being overlapped. But some of the results were compelling,” Leung said.
“Through the double exposures, seeing the familiar images of Hong Kong overlapping with the scenes in the UK, I found a strong bond and connection even if I was not physically there.”
Leung said she had always been intrigued by the topic of identity and diaspora, and was particularly interested in making art to express the identity of Hongkongers who emigrated to the UK. Moving from Hong Kong to Newcastle provided the “perfect conditions” for her to explore the subject.
“Memory is subjective, so is our identity. I hope to bring out that the idea of ‘identity’ is complex and multi-faceted, it will constantly change over time.”
The artists with whom Leung collaborated come from diverse backgrounds. Some worked in theatre, while others were wedding photographers. She started planning the project in April and began reaching out to photographers in Hong Kong in May, while the entire series took four months to complete.
The Hong Kong artist said her personal favourite was an overlapped image of a lit candle in the foreground of a Newcastle scene, created by her and Yip Tsz-shing: “I thought it was a really powerful and impressive picture when I first saw it.”
Leung said the greatest obstacle in putting the project together was the logistics of sending parcels from Hong Kong to the UK, as postal services had been unstable owing to fewer flights amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
On top of the film swap project, Leung also made collages in collaboration with UK-based Hongkongers by placing photos, scraps of newspapers and magazines and even Hong Kong banknotes onto a blank canvas.
“Both [projects] used the concept of ‘overlapping’ in expressing the complexity of a person’s identity,” she said.
Another project is in the making. Leung said she and her friends are set to launch a community art project in the UK, which may make use of an unused space in the neighbourhood for an exhibition.
Visit Leung’s website for more photos from the analogue series and her other projects.
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