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HomeArts & CultureHong Kong porcelain painter looks to exhibition to ‘shape better future’

Hong Kong porcelain painter looks to exhibition to ‘shape better future’

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Hand-painted Hong Kong porcelain spotlighted in exhibition one artist hopes will shed light on her craft for a new generation and help ‘build a better future’

‘Gangcai’, porcelain painting that blends Chinese and Western elements, once thrived in Hong Kong, and a new show called ‘Gangcai Encounter’ is dedicated to itIt features work by 8 female artists, including Betty Ho, who says preserving the craft is important for passing down ‘wisdom and values’ to the next generationArtKylie KnottPublished: 4:15pm, 20 Sep, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

When Betty Ho heard a few years ago that Yuet Tung China Works, one of Hong Kong’s last remaining porcelain painting factories, was facing difficulties, she planned a visit.

Porcelain is integral to Hong Kong’s cultural history, the trade booming after the 1960s when craftsmen fled to the city in response to political unrest in mainland China.

Factories sprang up to cater to the huge demand in the United States and Europe for handicrafts, and gangcai – Hong Kong’s unique style of hand-painted porcelain that blends Chinese and Western cultural elements, and is known for its complex decorative art and vibrant colours – was born.

“I visited the factory and to my surprise it was like a small museum, displaying thousands of pieces,” Ho says. “Many patterns were familiar, as I had seen them in my own home and throughout Hong Kong during my childhood.”

The visit sowed the seeds of Ho’s love affair with gangcai, and today she is a skilled porcelain painter. Some of her works are on show in “Gangcai Encounter – The Art of Hong Kong Porcelain Painting”, an exhibition at Artspace K in The Repulse Bay Arcade, in Repulse Bay, Hong Kong.

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