Venue - ArtisTree 1/F Cornwall House, TaiKoo Place FREE ADMISSION
Nearest MTR Quarry Bay
This History behind the man
This exhibition is a well thought out informative history of one of Hong Kong's most loved graffiti artists. Long before Banksy had even cut his first stencil Tsang Tsou-choi was using traditional Chinese calligraphy, with ink and a paint brush, to write his message on public spaces for the world to read. Of course being unable to read Chinese the message, up until now, has been lost on me.
Now that the exhibition has enlightened me I know that he thought himself the rightful royal ruler of the Kowloon peninsula and his messages demanded he should be given total rule of all of Kowloon. He objected to Elizabeth 1 being the colonial ruler so his first messages were addressed to her. After the handover things didn't go quite as he expected and so he had to continue painting his messages for all to see. After 1997 they were aimed at the Chinese government and he continued to claim that he was in fact the King of Kowloon. He was still waiting for tax to be paid to him from Donald Tsang upon his death. Tsang never replied to his tax demand which was painted on a wall in Kowloon!
It is estimated that over 51 years of scribbling in 80 locations over Hong Kong he generated 55,845 pieces of work and used 1,170 litres of ink.
The rooms are darkened with well lit exhibits not only of his work, of which there is miles, but of various artifacts from his life that have been preserved for posterity. Some quite mundane memorabilia such as old felt tip pens and empty ink bottles claimed to belong to the King. G.O.D. now uses some of his ideas and sells them as trendy items in their shops. They have an alarm clock and a t-shirt adorned with the Kings calligraphy, now hot fashion items. Buy now while stocks last!
During his lifetime his fame spread around the world and he was visited by Space Invader - graffiti artist , a famous American graffiti artist who placed one of his tile designs on the wall of the old folks home where he lived. This has now been removed and is carefully displayed. I am reliably informed this is worth thousands these days.
Students from local schools have used King Kowloon as inspiration for their own work and this is also on display and well worth a look. Who says Hong Kong students cannot be creative?