In Collaboration With Karen Aruba Art

Experience a never-seen-before insight into the visual beauty of mahjong tiles with this ‘The Art of Mahjong Craft x Photography Exhibition’ which takes an intimate look at what is involved in the traditional art of hand-carved mahjong tiles through photography, imaginative illustrations and painting to reveal the hidden story of such ‘intangible cultural heritage’. 

Opening on 23 July and running to 13 August at HKI Gallery in Wanchai, the ‘Beyond Borders of Mahjong’ exhibition is a collaboration between three Hong Kong artists: photographer AndyPoll, mahjong hand-carving master Ricky Cheung Sing Chung and artist Karen Aruba (Karen Cheung) presented by Karen Aruba Art.

Beyond Borders

The work of three different artists to present the visual beauty of mahjong tiles from different angles, is a unique insight that explores the very small details behind the scenes of hand carving mahjong tiles by Craftsman Ricky Cheung. While hand-carving mahjong is recognized as an intangible cultural heritage in Hong Kong and people are starting to treasure this dying art, it still lacks an artistic approach to observe and truly appreciate the art value of mahjong along its culture and unique identity in Hong Kong.

The exhibition will present a close-up look through photos of hand-carved mahjong tiles by macro camera, the posture of the master carver, and the traditional tools used to show the entire process as visual art.

The macro photography reveals the hidden world that’s just beyond the limits of our naked eyes on hand-carved mahjong tiles. And the illustration by Karen explains the whole hand-carved mahjong making processes. While each tile was carved and illustrated, a great deal of thought was put into calligraphy, design, the arm force, and the working effort of craftsman, but today much of the subtle symbolism goes unnoticed.

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The intricacies of the carving and painting process have been captured in stunning detail in this exhibition to give a unique perspective of this traditional method of carving mahjong tiles. Mahjong master craftsman Ricky Cheung has 50 years’ experience in the mahjong manufacturing industry. The photos have been captured by AndyPoll to appreciate the skill required to perfect the strokes, calligraphy and coloring all done by hand.

New ‘Mahjong Wanderlust’ Captures Hong Kong Artistry and Culture

Hand-painted and designed by artist Karen Aruba, the extraordinary creature of ‘Mahjong Wanderlust | Hong Kong’ theme depicts Hong Kong culture. Experience a totally new insight into mahjong Hong Kong theme with this intimate look at the dying art of hand-carving tiles with traditional mahjong patterns by Master Cheung integrated with imaginative illustrations done by laser-engraving.

Karen’s illustration and vibrant colors applied on mahjong tiles were inspired from the uncommon design and mythology of the ancient Chinese mahjong tiles. When the mahjong craftsman Ricky Cheung & artist Karen Aruba from two generations merge minds, mahjong goes beyond a mahjong game to become one-of-a-kind art piece to capture Hong Kong artistry and culture, by giving a modern twist to preserve the mahjong craftsmanship.

Cross-Generation Family Connection

Ricky Cheung began hand-carving mahjong tiles at the age of 13. His family operated one of the largest mahjong tile factories to supply mahjong tiles in the business sectors of industry in Hong Kong since 1963, until 2009 when it was no longer economical to keep it open due to the competition from mass production. Cheung has retired in 2018 and now fully engaged as one of the few remaining traditional hand carvers left in the city.

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Preserving this traditional craftsmanship in Hong Kong is a family collaboration for Ricky and daughter Karen. Karen, spends much of her time keeping the story alive through the art brand Karen Aruba Art, encouraging younger generations to learn its value alongside the Hong Kong story and culture.

Exhibition Details

Date23.07.2022 – 13.08.2022
TimeTuesdays to Saturdays, 12:00 – 19:00 (Closed on Mon & Sun)
LocationHKI Gallery, 7/F Chinachem Johnston Plaza, 178-186 Johnston Rd, Wanchai
AdmissionFree Entry
Event hashtag#BeyondBordersofMahjong
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