Making a difference through art

27 Nov 2014
Author: Robert Precht


The 2013 Prize was won by Elva Lai for her piece, “Family Photo Album: Washing”, a series of photos telling the stories of migrants who came  to Hong Kong from mainland China in the 1960s.

The tools of public interest advocacy are many and varied. Public interest lawyers advocate for the rights of the poor and marginalized in court. New blogs such as The Marshall Project are dedicated to investigative journalism to raise awareness and spur debate about failings of the American criminal justice system. Artists too have a vital role to play. 

Established in 2013, the Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize is a platform for artists working in the region to explore human rights through art and to raise awareness of human rights issues amongst new audiences.

Organised by Justice Centre Hong Kong, the theme of this year’s Prize is modern slavery and human trafficking. Over 40 entries from Hong Kong-based artists from as far-and-wide as Finland, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Australia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, have been judged by an eminent panel of prominent art experts and human rights specialists, including Umbrella Movement artist and activist Kacey Wong; Claire Hsu, founder and director of Asia Art Archive; and Judge Kevin Zervos, a judge of the High Court in Hong Kong.

Fifteen shortlisted artists will be exhibited and the winners announced on the night of Wednesday December 10, International Human Rights Day, at an exhibition and Christie’s charity auction at Sundaram Tagore Gallery on Hollywood Road. The overall winner will be awarded HK$ 30, 000. All funds raised on the night will go to support Justice Centre Hong Kong’s work to protect the rights of refugees and survivors of modern slavery. The exhibition can be previewed online here from Friday November 28.

The Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize not only creates empathy for the victims of injustice. It serves as a reminder how artists, authors, photographers and other creative people can create meaningful public interest projects.