25 January 2020
Andy Leung Ka-chun, a local illustrator born in 1987, loves old neighborhoods and their dense environment. Photo: HKEJ
Andy Leung Ka-chun, a local illustrator born in 1987, loves old neighborhoods and their dense environment. Photo: HKEJ

Illustrator seeks to preserve old neighborhoods via 3D art

Andy Leung Ka-chun, a local illustrator born in 1987, considers himself a cynical youth, which is pretty obvious from his nickname, Angryangry.

“People will be angry about something only when it concerns them. When I am no longer angry, it means I don’t give a hoot about it anymore,” he explained.

To Leung, discontent can be a positive force, one that can lead to creation. He wants to use art, the universal medium of communication, to expose social inequalities, advocate localism and promote Cantonese as the mother tongue.

In his latest endeavor, he incorporates his two-dimensional drawings into three-dimensional models of Tai Hang’s Lai Tak Tsuen, Ma Tau Kok’s 13 Streets, Wan Chai’s Blue House, Wo Cheong Pawn shop, and Quarry Bay’s Pan Hoi Street, among other familiar neighborhoods in the city. The exhibition is running at East Point City in Hang Hau until Feb. 21.

Leung loves old neighborhoods. He speaks endearingly of his childhood home in Kwun Tong’s Yue Man Square, where he and his family were forced to retreat seven years ago due to city’s redevelopment.

“I spent nearly 20 years there. After leaving our flat in a tong lau (old tenement building), I have never set foot in Kwun Tong again,” he said.

Growing up in a busy neighborhood, Leung has become fond of dense environments.

“There are many items in the old neighborhood that deserve protection, instead of tearing them down. However, the government seldom takes a second thought once the boundary is drawn. The boundary between what is to be kept and what is to be destroyed sometimes hasn’t been approved by a general consensus,” he said.

Hence, as an illustrator, Leung decided to preserve the buildings and the old neighborhoods by turning them into artworks, hoping they could inspire among the audience a sense of belonging.

Leung is furious but not in despair. “We shouldn’t give up too easily. Whether we can win the battle depends on our will. Say, for example, if you don’t want to see Cantonese killed off, you first have to speak it yourself. I also incorporate it into my works and I would also work harder to learn ancient Chinese.”

Respect your own culture, and be proud of your mother tongue. That’s how we can safeguard Hong Kong, our homeland, he said.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb. 2.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Here’s Leung’s illustration of Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market. Photo: HKEJ

Leung fashions a three-dimensional model of Kowloon Walled City out of a Lunar New Year candy box, known as Box of Harmony. Photo: HKEJ

A model of Ma Tau Kok’s 13 Streets (left) and Quarry Bay’s Pan Hoi Street made of Vitasoy soya bean milk cartons. Photo: HKEJ

HKEJ writer