Co-organized by the Department of Fine Arts, Garden Streams and the Chinese University of Hong Kong Library, the exhibition Nàng Tự Do features the life of Vietnamese boat people in the detention camps in Hong Kong in the 1980s and 1990s and will be held at the University Library from 21 October 2020 - 16 April 2021. The exhibition aims to discuss the relationship between “refugees” and contemporary society by reviewing this unique piece of almost forgotten history.
“Nàng Tự Do” means “Miss Freedom” in English. The title of the exhibition is drawn from Tự Do (Freedom Magazine), a magazine that was published by the boat people in the camps for their community at that time. As the magazine is written in Vietnamese, it has never been heard of by people outside the camps. From the 1980s, Hong Kong society became gradually more annoyed by the refugee waves, renaming the Vietnamese as “boat people” instead of “refugees”, suggesting that they were poor and lacking education. In fact, the definition of refugees is wide. As well as wars, natural disasters and economics may also be reasons for people to become refugees. This exhibition displays the archive of Art In the Camps (Garden Streams) from a contemporary point of view, instead of presenting the works as stereotypical views of the Vietnamese boat people’s identity, and reveals the life they led in Hong Kong.
The exhibition includes nearly 50 paintings from the archive of Art in the Camps, as well as a dozen photographs, taken in the detention camps, which have never been displayed before, along with specific newspaper clippings and other documents related to this piece of history. Contemporary artists from Hong Kong and overseas have been invited to react to this archive through their art works, including an interview with a Vietnamese man who grew up in the detention camp, some items from a magazine published by Vietnamese boat people in detention camps translated for the first time into English and Chinese, and a Polaroid image recording the very moment a batch of Vietnamese refugees landed in Hong Kong for the first time. A series of public programmes including online talks, workshops and a field trip will be organised throughout the exhibition period, to give audiences a deeper understanding of Vietnamese boat people’s life in Hong Kong.
Venue: Exhibition Area, University Library
Date: 21 October 2020 – 16 April 2021
Organizers: Department of Fine Arts, Garden Streams and the Chinese University of Hong Kong Library
Co-organizer: Art For All
Supported by: Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Curator: Leung Ho Yin (Part-time Lecturer, Department of Fine Arts, CUHK)
Notices: This exhibition is open to the public. In response to the current pandemic, the public is required to provide identification documents for simple registration when entering the campus. Wearing a mask is required.