Over the past two decades, Fo Tan has gradually established itself as an artist community when many artists chose to set up their studios in the area. With the coming about of changes in the industrial area, the artists also hope to contribute to the community with their creativity.
In 2018, supported and funded by Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC), Artists Co-op has taken forward a place-making initiative called “Join Fotan” in collaboration with HKDC’s annual international event, Business of Design Week (BODW).
In continuation of Artists Co-op’s mission in facilitating cross-sectoral collaboration and promoting sustainable development of the community, we unified other artists in Fo Tan in a cross-sectoral cooperative effort. We consolidated the ample creative resources of the community to organise “Join Fotan”.
Over 40 artists and art organisations have taken part. With the network of our supportive community, we hope to tackle issues in our district and shoulder the mission of promoting community development, in collaboration with different organisations, unleashing Fo Tan’s immense creative potential.
A series of events including “Fotan Night Out”, “A Date With Fotan”, Master Artists Exhibition, upcycled art exhibition & workshops, as well as “Illuminated Wearable Art Parade” were organised. The events of “Join Fotan” was well received not only among artists, but also local residents and international visitors because participants could connect with the Fo Tan artist community, learn about the district’s less known side and enjoy a fruitful experience of creativity and art-making.
In light of this successful event, Artists-Coop was later offered with the opportunities to present our upcycling art programmes in the aforementioned Sha Tin Festival and set up the Sustainability Art Hub at Sha Lek Corner.
Highlights of the event are briefly recapped as follows.
Fotan Night Out
Unlike any other art tours, our participants not only could chat with artists in a relaxed evening but also watch the artists demonstrate their creative process and even join the creation! Walking along the mysterious alleys and passageways of the industrial area, participants were led to the street corner where the “then & now” footage of Fo Tan was shown. One may compare the streets of Fo Tan in historical photos and on site, learn how the old “rice field” was developed into an industrial area, and “encounter” our “immersive theatre”, “Illuminated Wearable Art Parade”, site-specific installations, and other surprises.
Master Artists Exhibition
In response to our call for “art within reach”, master artists in Fo Tan provided over 60 pieces/sets of quality artworks for a joint exhibition in Fo Tan for the public to enjoy them up-close, and to collect such “museum pieces” at affordable prices. This event sold over one third of exhibited art pieces.
Illuminated Wearable Art Parade
Mentored by a multimedia creator H2O, a group of young cosplay enthusiasts freed themselves from the mould by creating their own costumes and showcasing their personalities and styles with a catwalk in the street at the heart of Fo Tan.
art exhibition & workshop
Walking along the streets of Fo Tan, one can easily encounter “waste” that is considered a treasure by artists. Artists, including our featured artist in this project, Margaret Yeung, have been upcycling such resources in their creative process. We organised a thematic exhibition to show “waste” got turned into art pieces with artists’ magic touch. Other activities of “Join Fotan” included art workshops on various art media, tasting of Chinese tea and herbal tea. Examples of workshops include “Copper wire tree mini-sculpture”, “pottery wheel experience”, “plant-dyed bag”, and “herbal tea tasting”, etc.