Leung Hui Wah
Distant Views of Hong Kong
26/7/2019 － 5/10/2019
Leung Hui Wah (1937-2012) is a Hong Konger devoted to local travel. In 1972, he set up the Distant Wind Travel Team (changed to Distant Wind Friends of the Outdoor in 1975) to promote local travel which he saw as beneficial to broadening the traveler’s horizon and strengthening his health and will. In 1976, Leung founded The Great Outdoors magazine which introduced various types of information regarding outdoor activities. Aside from traveling, Leung searched for virgin lands and historic sites and traced their origins and history. He published this body of information into volumes of books, a remarkable contribution to the field of Hong Kong history. From 1972 to 1978, Leung was the non-official member of the Hong Kong Country Parks Committee. From 1993 onwards, he served as the president of the Countryside Heritage Society of Hong Kong. Leung’s distinguished contribution was widely recognized. He was awarded by Her Majesty The Queen the Badge of Honour in 1989 and the Certificate of Appreciation twice by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department in 1993 and 1996.
Leung saw the countryside as his teacher, in the same vein that ancient Chinese paid reverence to nature. Confucius once said the benevolent folks delight in mountains and the wise love water. Traveling in nature was believed to be the best mean to cultivate one’s character. Yet, in the past, traveling was imperiled by poor transport and inaccessibility. People thus started to create landscape paintings so they could immerse in nature while staying indoors. In Chinese landscape paintings, artists adopt a distant perspective not only to capture the entire vista but also evoke a sense of aloofness to cleanse the mind.
Leung had taken numerous photographs on his journeys. Sixty of them, all employing a distant perspective, are selected for exhibition in two thematic parts. The first part features distant views of urban Hong Kong seen from the countryside, pointing up the proximity of city and nature which is a unique feature of Hong Kong. The images also show the Hong Kong’s transformation from the 1970’s to 1990’s. Viewers are invited to share Leung’s excitement for Hong Kong’s future, captured through his camera lens, and contemplate on our relationship with nature.
The second part features rural Hong Kong in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Some of the sceneries remain, some were gone forever. Nonetheless, viewers can traverse the tranquil landscapes through Leung’s lens and enjoy a moment of spiritual transcendence. These photographs are indeed Leung’s landscape paintings.