Using Art to promote conservation – Fishpond Diving Art Festival in Hong Kong

Art Festival in the Field

The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS) and a local NGO Art Together worked on maintaining the balance of ecology and searching for possibilities of sustainable living, the former through ecological conservation, the latter through community arts. Since 2012, HKBWS has been conducting the Fishpond Conservation Scheme in northwestern New Territories covering over 600 hectares of fishponds, cooperating with local fish farmers in ecological environment management. Art Together first launched the Sustainable Fest at old Kai Tak Airport in 2016, and continually work on promoting the concept of sustainable living through different projects. The two organizations met in 2017 and developed the Fishpond Art Festival 2018. The aim was to make use of art’s special binding quality, allowing the artists to express in their own unique language in leading the audience and participants to appreciate the value of conserving Tai Sang Wai from various angles, and to feel the importance of sustainable living. With over one year’s preparation, the first Fishpond Art Festival 2018 was held in January 2018 in Tai Sang Wai.

In 2019, the Fishpond Art Festival was set with an aim on participatory artwork with a series of art education workshops conducted on site so we named it as “Fishpond Diving Art Festival”.

© The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society

© The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society

© The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society

From the autumn in 2018, the art students and graduates from Hong Kong Art School and HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity participate in the art creation process by the invited artist educator Ho Yuen Leung, Farm side Art Research Lab, Ma Chi Hang and Wiki Lo in the form of “artist-in-residence” to do their artwork in the field. Different art installations, house painting, a documentary were created by the 4 artists and their art students.

During the art creation process in the fishpond, some students developed more ideas and started their personal art creation after participating in the artist’s proposed creation. The student artist’s artwork also showed their response to fishponds. In addition, the Hong Kong Community College Visual Communication Program students also created their artwork with the theme of ecological conservation and displayed in the Art Festival. Bo Kim, an artist from Korea, did her performance in the pond. She invited the audience to put their “memory” with her into the mother nature.

During the art festival, we invited artists who were good at different media to participate in the festival together with the audience to make the artwork on site. For example three-dimensional creation, animation, painting, taste art, sound art, movement, performance art and so on.

© The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society

The Fishpond Diving Art Festival already finished on 19th and 20th January 2019 in Hong Kong and was invited to join “Asia in Asia” exhibition by Gyeongname Art Museum in Korea. Welcome you to come and see the exhibition which is a new initiative integrating art and conservation aiming to inspire people by nature and wildlife observation, and then use their creativity to express their love of nature.


Exhibition in Gyeongname Art Museum, Ro Korea

Asia in Asia – Close by far away drums
Gyeongnam Art Museum

Date: 2019-02-14 ~ 2019-05-12
Add: South Korea, Gyeongsangnam-do, 창원시 의창구 Yongji-ro, 296


Background about Land Art

In the past few decades, artists in Europe, America and Taiwan had found inspirations from life in nature and the environment in nature, many visual arts and performing arts series were created with nature as a theme. Also, many artists who are aware of the environment would express their concerns through arts.

The concept of “land art” was introduced in 1950s to 1960s. Other terms were later derived from it, for example, “Environmental Art”, “Earth Art” and “Eco Art”. The term “Eco Art” was developed in 1990s. It does not only cover the elements of “land”, but also incorporate the concept of ecosystems and concerns to the whole environment into arts. In this way, art has also become a channel of promoting public awareness towards conservation issue.

Hong Kong also faced many environmental issues in recent years, and there were arguments over conservation against land use development. It is our aim to promote, through art, harmonious relationship between people and the land, people and the birds, and people with people; and to raise awareness towards the issue of fishpond conservation to a wider spectrum.

HKBWS launched a habitat management project which named Hong Kong Fishpond conservation scheme since 2012. During our years of working on the fishpond project, we have collected many interesting local stories, especially concerning Tai Sang Wai.

Art is a soft approach that can reach out to a wider public and spread the ecological importance of fishpond conservation, so HKBWS jointly curated “Fishpond Art Festival” with local Art organization Art Together. We invited artists to join “Artists-in-residence” program in Tai Sang Wai. By living there, the artists learned about the place, the fishpond operation, the birds and the conservation issue there. These first-hand experience become the inspiration for artistic creations, telling stories of this place.

Art is not a privilege only for artists, creativity is innate in every one of us. Through the Fishpond Art Festival, we hope to promote arts education to a wider public so that more Hong Kong citizens can experience the unique power of art.


More information about the programme (in Chinese):

Article prepared by Christina Chan from The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society

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