Kam Wa Magus Yuen wins the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize 2020 Now inits sixthedition, thePrizechampionshumanrights throughthearts

Hong Kong Symposium 2019 by Hong Kong artist Kam Wa Magus Yuen has won the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize 2020. Presented by Justice Centre Hong Kong for his depiction of the city’s ongoing civil unrest, Yuen’s winning piece was selected from a shortlist of 33 works by an international judging panel made up of Christy Chow, Jeremy Deller, Peter Augustus Owen, Katie Vajda, Chantal Wong, and Dr. Kacey Wong.


Yuen received the prestigious award and a cash prize of HKD35,000, Benson Koo was awarded the First Runner-up prize of HKD7,500 for his video work Dream Criminal and Mo Soeng by Chan Kiu Hong received the Second Runner-up Prize of HKD5,000. Since its inception in 2013, the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize has played a pivotal role in unearthing new creative talent and encouraging meaningful dialogue about human rights both at home and abroad.


Now in its sixth edition, the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize continues to expand its reach through supporting partnerships with the EU office to Hong Kong and Macao and Goethe-Institut Hong Kong. Alongside the new partnerships, two new categories were introduced this year: The Justice Centre Award of HKD2,500, presented to the artist whose work best reflects the organisation’s mission to protect the rights of Hong Kong’s most vulnerable, and the Student Award, open to Hong Kong-based secondary school students.


The Portrait Project by Ben Kostrzewa was the inaugural winner of the Justice Centre Award and Perpetual Climb by Cristiana Papadopolous took home the Student Award title and winning certificate to commemorate the moment. Celebrating their partnership with Justice Centre Hong Kong, Goethe-Institut Hong Kong, awarded the winner of their ‘45 Seconds for Human Rights’ Award with a one-week trip to Berlin to experience the arts and culture scene of the historic city once travel restrictions are lifted. Presented to a short film of exactly 45 seconds, the award was given to Man Chi Loy (Armechan) for his work Popo Dragon.


All shortlisted and winning artworks are now on view at the Goethe-Institut Hong Kong in an exhibition curated by Hong Kong artist and writer KY Wong. Audiences can join a virtual walkthrough of the exhibition on the Justice Centre Hong Kong Facebook Page. All works will be available to purchase via online auction through 6 June 2020, from which all proceeds will go towards the prizes for the winning artists and to support the important non-profit work of Justice Centre Hong Kong. For more information on the auction, visit


Prominent Hong Kong-based artist and long-time judge for the Arts Prize, Dr. Kacey Wong says, “The Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize is a celebration of those willing to bring the truth from the darkest of corners to light. The world is going through a particularly trying time right now, and I hope this prize reminds us that we are all in this together and it is only if we depend on each other, that we can make it through”.

Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize 2020 Winning Artwork This year’s winning work Hong Kong Symposium 2019 by Kam Wa Magus Yuen explores the 2019 civil unrest in the city against the anti-extradition law amendment bill. His mixed-media work looks at the impact of chemical weapons used during the unrest, and questions the state of basic human rights in the city. Yuen also won the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize Director’s Choice Award in 2017.

 Sotheby’s Fine Chinese Paintings Autumn Sale on 2 October 2018 will feature approximately 270 exquisite modern Chinese ink paintings, with a combined estimate in excess of HK$230 million*.  The sale is led by two monumental figure paintings by Zhang Daqian from very different periods in his career: the splashed-ink-and-colour Self Portrait with a Tibetan Mastiff, and Portrait of Guanyin from Dunhuang Fresco in Gongbi brushwork style.  Further highlights include a landscape masterpiece by Fu Baoshi from the 1940s,  Wu Guanzhong’s old Hong Kong croquis, Wing On Street - Cloth Alley and Li Keran’s Kunlun Mountains, annotated by Chairman Mao Zedong’s poetry.


Carmen Ip, Acting Head of Department, Fine Chinese Paintings, Sotheby’s Asia, comments, “This season, we are pleased to bring together works of artistic significance by modern Chinese artists. Many boast impeccable provenance, several are fresh-to-the-market.  Headlining the sale are two figure paintings by Zhang Daqian:  Portrait of Guanyin from Dunhuang Fresco, a rare example remaining in private hands, and Self Portrait with a Tibetan Mastiff, a splashed ink and colour seminal self-portrait by the artist.


Complementing these are works which touch upon themes of modern society, such as Wu Guanzhong’s Old Hong Kong Croquis, Wing On Street - Cloth Alley, Fu Baoshi’s ground-breaking ink rendering, Grandeur of Coal Capital and Li Keran’s Kunlun Mountains, annotated by Chairman Mao Zedong’s poetry. Not only do these paintings carry significant historical connotations, they also demonstrate feats of exemplary artistic achievement.”

From an Important Asian Private Collection

Zhang Daqian

Self Portrait with a Tibetan Mastiff

Splashed ink and colour on gold paper, framed

176 by 96 cm

Estimate upon request


Self-portraiture is an important and recurring theme in Zhang Daqian’s paintings.  Measuring 6 foot in height, Self Portrait with a Tibetan Mastiff depicts the artist garbed in robes, with a scroll in hand. Beside him is a strapping Tibetan Mastiff sporting dense black fur, both fine and lush in texture. The background of the composition is filled with rich and thickly impastoed blue ink splashes of varying gradation, forming a kaleidoscopic shimmer which serves as a stark contrast to the jet black fur of the dog, against the gold paper background. The painting remained with Zhang Daqian throughout his life.

Wu Guanzhong

Wing On Street - Cloth Alley

1990, Ink and colour on paper, framed, 53.3 by 47.7 cm

Estimate: HK$ 1,000,000-1,500,000


In November 1990, Wu Guanzhong was invited by Land Development Corporation to visit Hong Kong for a painting trip.  Created during this trip, Wing On Street - Cloth Alley depicts Wing On Street of Hong Kong, which was originally an alley which connects Queen’s Road Central and Des Voeux Road Central. It gained prominence at the turn of the century for fabric shops, hence its nickname “Cloth Alley”.  The alley was dismantled in the 1990s due to urban restructuring.  The painting depicts a corner of the original neighborhood with clever usage of color dots and stripes, showing the hustle and bustle of the zigzagging old alley, with copious signage in English and Chinese above, epitomising the fusing of East and West characteristic of Hong Kong. Beyond the blue and white striped canopy are towering skyscrapers emerging amongst the sprawling rooftops of old buildings, bringing to life the city’s bridging of old and new.

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