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[Hi! Houses] Hong Kong Old Houses X Contemporary Art

Hong Kong Living | March 24, 2017

Some of the old houses in Hong Kong are conserved in the form of museums that preserve and present the original or period furniture and artifacts inside. People start getting unfamiliar and unconnected to the things that belong to the previous centuries along with the rapid development. The Art Promotion Office presents a project called “Hi! Houses” that aims to make good use of the space in old houses and connect the past stories of the houses with contemporary art.


This time we bring you to one of the exhibitions—Sam Tung Uk Museum in Tsuen Wan. Jaffa Lam was invited to work with the story of Sam Tung Uk and present her art work in the museum. Sam Tung Uk is a Hakka Village in Tsuen Wan that was built by Chan’s family in 1786. It was refurbished and has been changed into a museum since 1987.

Lam hopes to re-construct the history of Sam Tung Uk so as to lead the Hakka people to the remembrance of the past and lead the visitors to experience the lives of Hakka family in the earlier times.

The deep turquoise light

The deep turquoise light in the kitchen.

Several settings of deep turquoise light are put in different corners in the house, to create a dreamlike environment while the visitors strolling through.

Reappearance of the epidemic incident

A water sound installation at the courtyard in front of the Assembly Hall is to reappear an incident when the epidemic broke out in the past and the house was cleansed with water.

A mirror placed in front of Period House of the third prime lineage family also reminds people of the epidemic broke out.

The edifying couplet

The pieces of words placed at the small courtyard in front of the Period House of the third prime lineage family were a couplet hanged on the pillars at the Assembly Hall with the purpose of edifying.

Dreaming in the Period House of the third prime lineage family

A revolving lantern above the traditional-style square table at the Period House of the third prime lineage family has a hypnotic effect.

Two visitors are looking at the “breathing” mosquito-net.

The slowly breathing mosquito-net with a sound of heartbeat interprets someone is sleeping on the bed.

A video projected on the wall was taken at Pui O in Hong Kong.

The superimposed images of butterflies and deal cattle on the wall gives an illusion to the visitors that they are dreaming.

A video of parents edifying children is playing inside a earthen jar.

There are videos played at the kitchen about parents teaching children to behave well.

The exhibition does not only influence the audience through their eyes, but also through their ears. It is exceptionally potent to the visitors to experience the lives of Hakka family in the past.

“Hi! Houses!” has invited four artists in total to cooperate with the old houses. The other three exhibitions are held in Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum in Central, Old House at Wong Uk Village in Sha Tin and Law Uk Folk Museum in Chai Wan.

To know more about the stories of the old houses and the artists and information of fringe activities, please visit the Facebook fan page of ‘Hi! Houses’.

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