Reconstructing the Hong Kong cultural identity by reconnecting with history through art exhibitions and performative rituals (from the construction of the “Lo Ting” myth in 1997 to the revival of ritualistic practices in 2014)
張嘉莉 (Clara CHEUNG)
at 6:01pm on 22nd March 2016
1. Postcard project initiated by Hong Kong artist Lo Lai Lai, with Lion Rock. Photo courtesy of Schindler Leung.
2. – 4. Installation views of the ‘Museum 97: History・Community・Individual Exhibition’, 1997. Photo courtesy of Oscar Ho.
5. During the Umbrella Movement in 2015, a small temple worshipping Guan Yu, a common Taoist god, was set up by occupiers at the Mongkok occupy site. Photo courtesy of Clara Cheung.
(原文以英文發表，題為〈重構香港文化身份 ─ 透過藝術展覽和展演性祭祀與歷史重新連繫 (由1997盧亭神話的再造到2014祭祀風俗的再興)〉。
On 23 October 2014, a month after the beginning of the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, a gigantic banner, 6 meters wide by 28 meters long, with a printed slogan in Chinese: “I want true universal suffrage” was hung on Lion Rock (495 meters above sea level), by a group of rock climbers, that were labelled “spider-men.” (image 1) The appearance of this huge banner was a significant and sentimental moment for many Hong Kong occupiers whose demands had been ignored by the authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing, China, since the beginning of the Umbrella occupation. Indeed, “I want true universal suffrage” was the common slogan and demand for all occupiers in the Umbrella Movement. While the subject, “I,” in this slogan reveals the importance of autonomy and democracy within the movement, the slogan suggests a new kind of identity for Hongkongers, an identity different from the “I” being constructed during between the 1970s and 1990s. The current essay attempts to trace the path of the reconstruction of Hongkongers’ cultural identity through reviewing I. the cultural significance of the myth of the “Lion Rock spirit” from 1970s to 1990s, II. the myth construction of “Lo Ting” in art exhibitions around the years of the handover in 1997-1998 and III. the current revival of ancient rituals by cultural practitioners in 2014 - 2015.
I. The New “Lion Rock Spirit”
The “Lion Rock spirit” is known as the mainstream value system of Hong Kong people since the 1980s. The term ‘Lion Rock spirit’ originated from a television series “Under the Lion Rock” produced by Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) beginning in 1972, on and off, until nowadays. Its Cantonese theme song with the same title written in 1979 is also well-known. While the television series mainly portrayed re