All posts tagged: Art Readers on Art – Hong Kong

Community arts: Supporting or Subverting the Establishment?

By Samson Wong / “Is [sic] the community arts becoming too close to the establishment?” my fellow contributor Queenie Liu asked me during the writers’ panel at the launch of Art Readers on Art – Hong Kong (I), a new bilingual volume by seven local artists and scholars. All seven were in attendance, including art historian Linda Lai Chiu Han and artist Ho Siu Kee. Liu’s chapter is on political art, while mine looks at the experiential side of participation in community art, defined here as a practice in which the art-making process aims to help people with their wellbeing – two very different artistic approaches to social intervention. The question presupposes a suspicion of the state that current applies in Hong Kong but is certainly not limited to it. Liu’s observation, though pointed, is commonly put to community artists. The argument has been most strongly formulated by art historian Claire Bishop, one of community art’s harshest critics. She described the UK’s community art movement between 1970s to 1980s as simply “an agitational force campaigning …