Double-bill Exhibition - The Paradox of history: NT frontier closed area ╳ Painting with light: A Central without people


  • Tue 02-06-2020 to Mon 06-07-2020

Anita Chan Lai-ling Gallery

Free Admission


The Paradox of history: NT frontier closed area*

In 2015, a double-decker bus quietly idles inside the Frontier Closed Area, on Crown Land. Out on the street of England in 1981, decommissioned on this island in 1997, it seemingly has captured the gradual lowering of the Union Jack in our city until its last time. Coincidence? Or history?

Also in the closed area, stands a discoloured motto board in the front of a classroom of an abandoned village school; on it writes, "Don’t live in the past, but live out your best today.”

Perhaps history is only illusionary. Or, it is some kind of melancholy and loss as one "fails to cut away, fiddling into disarray”? But, if there’s no dialogue between today and yesterdays, will tomorrow ever dawn?

This New Territories frontier closed area with the burden of history on its back, that lets us glimpse into the paradox vaguely visible, will it be still there tomorrow? How about the New Territories, Hong Kong……?

*Closed area refers to a place that could not be entered without permissions from relevant departments. Before 1951, when China and Hong Kong were yet to establish boundary control points, the people of these two places were enjoying their freedom of movement. Then the civil war in China had the defeated Kuomintang packed and fled for Taiwan as the Communist Party took over. The then Hong Kong Government was so worried about the Mainland government would propagate its communist ideology to its territory and undermine its ruling foundation, that it amended the Public Order Ordinance to create the New Territories Closed Area. This restricted area, spanning across the North District, peaked at 2,800 hectares, it included Sha Tau Kok city, Lo Wu, Man Kam To, Ta Kwu Ling, and Yuen Long District's Lok Ma Chau area. Since 2005, the Hong Kong Special Administration Region Government has begun to explore the possibilities of opening the area up, and set the timetable of doing so phase by phase.


Painting with light: A Central without people

John started this project in 2011, and says he’s been doing it “just for fun”, using a photo-collage technique and tonnes of patience. He comments: “Maybe these images are ‘reflections of my life’ that are taking me back to my long-ago home. Or maybe it’s a question about whether this city is indeed an emptyscape”.


About John Choy

Freelance photographer John Choy was born and raised in Hong Kong. He worked as a photographer for a series of local newspapers and magazines, as well as Information Services Department from 1989 to 2001. He is passionate about documenting the unseen landscapes amid the hustle and bustle of the city.  He has done several solo photography and group exhibitions, and has published two photo books, “Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate” and “Hong Kong Photographers: John Choy”.

He will become a father for the first time during this exhibition. Congratulations, John & Sze!


Artworks for Sale.



Opening Hours:

Monday – Saturday 11am-7pm

Sundays & Public Holidays closed

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