Mural Paintings in Sheung Wan (ARTLANE)

30 Nov 2018 | Ashley

Do you like street art? Do you like taking artsy pictures for your social media? Here is a good place to be!

Henderson Land, one of the leaders in urban renewal in Hong Kong, has launched Artlane, an art project in Hong Kong Island Western SOHO District. Once you get out of Sheung Wan MTR station, you will be amazed to see all the colours in this neighbourhood.

Blessy Man & Henry Lau, Rainbow Staircase, 2018

You will see mural paintings that bring alive neglected back alleys, small paths between old buildings, old buildings and newly renovated staircases. Their themes revolve around music, jazz, classical Hollywood icons, animals, European streets, impressionist references etc. I would argue that each of them has their own quirk. But all of them create a Utopian world for the viewers, which subsequently attracts more people to this area than ever before. Everyone loves a little fantasy in the midst of reality! Some of them curious, some came with their professional cameras, or their phones, busy taking portraits and selfies with these beautiful fantasies.

Blessy man & Henry Lau, Animal Town, 2018

I was lucky enough to talk with artists Blessy Man and Henry Lau, who painted the Rainbow Staircase as well as the Animal Town. They find the interaction with the neighbours the most interesting in their painting experience. Some would walk past and compliment them on how beautiful their works are, and some would without notice, carry their heavy carts up and down the stairs, naturally destroying some colours. Henry says that it is indeed a pain to repaint over and over the stairs as there is always a woman janitor who pulls a cart up and down that same area. It never ends. He hopes that for the people who are aware, they should try their best to protect the artworks so that they do not deteriorate as quickly as they would if exposed to constant destruction. I find this interaction harmless and delightful as their professions cross paths and produce effects on each other.

Zue Chan, Little girl watering plants, 2018

I could also observe one interesting sight with a man lying peacefully on a bench in front of Zue Chan's Little girl watering plants. His posture was almost elegant, like a merman. He was sleeping sideways, facing the painting, with both hands under one cheek, and legs equally lined together. I could almost imagine him sleeping in this garden, this beautiful illusion in front of him. I could boldly assume that he would not have slept there if there wasn't such a cheerful painting before him. I wonder if the benches facing the painting were intentionally designed to be put there to induce and produce interaction between people and the work. It would be interesting if they were.

Placard on site

To my knowledge, the Artlane project is still developing, which means there will be more mural paintings in the near future in this area. The paintings are all bright and uplifting, but I think what is the most interesting to watch this time, is how people interact with them.


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