Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rona Hu shows the human side of migrant workers at Eastation Gallery

Mainland artist Rona Hu has always conveyed strong political and social messages through her work, and her latest exhibition, "The Underprivileged" is no exception.
As with many of her paintings, Hu captures typical people in contemporary society. For this show - which runs until May 31 - she focuses on rural migrant workers, an underprivileged class of more than 260 million people suffering from marginalisation and discrimination.
In her soft pastel oil on canvas works, Hu shows these people in realistic spaces, but adds her surreal twist. This is best seen in Reflection, which shows a construction worker reflected in the glass of a giant skyscraper. Hu makes a bold statement about the underprivileged living and working in the shadow of prosperous cities, as well as the mainland's surging growth.
The truth of the historical moment must be captured by those living in that time
The artist's Portrait of the Underprivileged (6) and (Portrait of the Underprivileged (8), geometrically fragmented portraits of construction workers, feature men with cigarettes dangling from their mouths, and leave a lasting impression.
"'The Underprivileged' was conceived at a time when society was facing elevated conflict between entitled and underprivileged," says Hu.
"I hope this series acts as a medium where hard truth is captured, regardless of future interpretations. History can be redecorated by subsequent generations, so the truth of the historical moment must be captured by those living in that time."
A work from Rona Hu's "The Underprivileged" series.In her "Uninhibited" series, she beautifully captures the innocence of the left-behind children of migrant workers. Paper planes swirl around them; they are carefree and cheerful, longing for an uninhibited life without worrying about conflict and discrimination.

Born in Beijing, Hu grew up in Hunan province in the 1960s when the country was experiencing political and social upheaval, events that would help shape her social conscience, making her aware and sensitive to the current events around her.
After working in the US for more than 10 years, Hu - who started painting when she was eight - now calls Hong Kong home. She has shown her works on the mainland, Malaysia, Vietnam and the US, and her colourful life experiences provide unique perspectives on Eastern and Western cultures.
"Among the female artists who are oriented towards realism, Rona is unique," says Lily Leung, general manager of Eastation Gallery.
"She employs bright and brilliant colours to inject a romanticism and warmth into 'The Underprivileged'. She shows a touch of humanity in her artworks."
"The Underprivileged" by Rona Hu, until May 31, Art One Foyer and Eastation Gallery, M/F Convention Plaza, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai. Inquiries: 2511 2911

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