The Charitable Artist – Wing Shya

Hong Kong photographer Wing Shya is launching an exhibition that supports a hugely important city charity. He tells LIFE2 about Sweet Sorrow, his ‘mentor’ Wong Kar-wai and the changing face of photography and art.

He’s one of the most recognisable names in the Hong Kong art landscape. Wing Shya
is a photographer and artist with an extensive body of work behind him and, it’s hoped, ahead of him too. The Hongkonger was filmmaker Wong Karwai’s exclusive set  photographer and he’s since become a hugely popular artist whose works have been viewed worldwide. Now, at LOFT22 in LKF’s California Tower, he’s putting the final
pieces together for his first full-on charity art exhibition in Hong Kong.

Shya, who was born in our city in 1964, has devoted his life to his art. He graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada, in his early life and then set about making a career in art, quickly becoming known for his compelling  aesthetics in photography, film, music and video, as seen in his collaborations with Wong Kar-Wai in movies like Happy Together and In the Mood for Love. His own  directorial work has won him plaudits with Hot Summer Days and Love in Space, plus he contributes to fashion and art publications across the world.

Shya’s solo exhibitions across the globe include Jealousy in Shanghai and  Distraction/Attraction in Tokyo, as well as a plethora here in Hong Kong. His upcoming installation at LOFT22, Sweet Sorrow, sees a host of new photographs on show that explore the human mind in today’s information age. Feelings of isolation, loneliness and detachment that come from overstimulation and sensory overload are prominent themes.

The exhibition, between March 14 and 17, is presented by the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation and raises money for the charity’s Cancer Fund. Shya has supported many charities over his career but this is actually the first charity art initiative he’s ever done in Hong Kong. All of the proceeds go to the fund, which supports underprivileged cancer patients in Hong Kong through free scans, as well as diagnosis and treatment services.


Sweet Sorrow takes place ahead of this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong, which is held at the HKCEC between March 23 and 25. It all makes for a month that sees our city dedicate itself to the art scene throughout March. However, the charitable edge to  Sweet Sorrow makes it a must-not-miss for art fans with kind hearts and inquisitive natures in our city. Wing Shya certainly reflects on the exhibition and much more when we meet…

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