她的一生都在見證城市的一切並參與塑造這個城市。我是周柳建成，The China Current的主持人。
Hong Kong is a global financial center and a cultural capital. In 1962, the Hong Kong Museum of Art was founded on one side of its world-famous harbor and today sits on the other side, with a lifetime role as a witness and participant in the major events that have shaped this city. I’m James Chau, Host of The China Current. Sixty years after its creation, I speak with Dr. Maria Mok, Museum Director, and guardian of an artistic legacy.
1962 was the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the death of Marilyn Monroe, and also the arrest in South Africa of Nelson Mandela. But it was also the start of the City Hall Art Gallery and Museum, which became what it is today, the Hong Kong Museum of Art. What was the vision of its original, cultural architects?
I remember reading an article by John Warner, our first chief curator of the Hong Kong Museum of Art. He arrived in Hong Kong in the late 1950s and one of the observations he had was that there is nothing cultural in this city. There was no proper venue for art exhibitions, and he was really shocked at the time. All the venues for exhibitions were temporary display areas and I think by the time when the City Hall was built and opened in March 1962, it was really the first time the city had offered basic amenities to a more civilized way of living, because the City Hall housed a library, theater, concert hall and a Museum.
Holding this role as a keeper of legacy, that are a window onto the oldest living civilization today. How huge is that responsibility, not only for your predecessors, but also for you?
What's really important is to tell the story of the Hong Kong legacy. We represent Hong Kong in art. And sometimes with ancient culture, you do have to find an alternative way, a very unconventional approach, to tell that story to disarm people because when they don't know so much about traditional stories, they feel intimidated.
So, our mission is really to curate the collection with a contemporary touch, so that people are not intimidated by knowledge that could be otherwise alien to them in a way, and to offer them alternative understanding to art, and to connect art with everyday life.
Your collection numbers over 18,000 now and the Museum describes it as one that spans generations, but one that also travels from the "ordinary" to the "extraordinary". It may be easy to think first are the so called extraordinary pieces that stand up. But what are some of the "ordinary" works that we should equally be aware of?
Indeed, we've been talking about star pieces, star collections, star curators sometimes, for years. And to celebrate our 60th anniversary, we want to celebrate the uncelebrated.
And by "uncelebrated" I'm talking about... there are a lot of museums that collect extraordinary art pieces. But museums like us who have been around for a longer time, we also collect key moments, and these key moments are encapsulated in artworks. It could be a turning point in the career of an artist, it could be a breakthrough in our historical research, it could be a pivotal moment and a technical development in art.
For the 60th anniversary, I'm not offering just one ordinary piece, but I'm offering an ordinary or uncelebrated chapter, and it's now on display in our exhibition called "In-Between", where you will find a very small but carefully selected list of collections that are symbols of our turning point, the turning points that we collected.
You have gone from helping Hong Kong transform from a financial center, a trading center, to a thriving cultural space, where this Museum sits alongside the Hong Kong Palace Museum, and also M+ as well. Do you think that there is a likelihood that culture and the arts will become the DNA of this city in times to come?
I think the DNA of the city always has an important part in its art and culture. But what is more important is how we tell the world who we are through art and culture. So, it's not that there is certain art that defines us. But can we use art to portray, to give the world a portraiture of who we are?