Does a world without sound look any different? Hong Kong Guide Dogs Association (HKGDA) and ADAM Arts Creation Limited recently held an exhibition at Lok Fu Place featuring paintings and photography by artists with disabilities on the theme of guide dogs and their users. Channel 823 was honoured to sit down with Jack Li and Sandra Wong, two hearing-impaired artists whose work was featured at the exhibition, to explore their creative minds.
Jack, a seasoned photographer with 14 years of experience, admitted that this was his first time taking photos of guide dogs. “I found the various expressions of guide dogs very fascinating,” he signed. “Their demeanour during a food coma after a hearty meal, for example, was very different than when they were leading their partner. Guide dogs are sweet and docile until they go into work mode – that’s when they spring into real action. There were a few times I had to chase them down for the shot!”
Through his exhibited work, Jack hopes to show the public a day in the life of a visually impaired person with their guide dog to increase awareness and understanding of their needs so that ordinary citizens can recognise and support them where needed on the streets of Hong Kong.
Jack’s biggest passion lies in capturing glimpses of candid positive emotions around his daily life. “Photography allows me to capture the positive emotions of people and share them, sparking joy in others,” he signed with a smile.
Sandra, who lost her hearing later in life, introduced us to two of her paintings from the exhibition, one with the theme of “still” and the other of “motion”. In the setting of a busy MTR station, a guide dog is on a mission, carefully but swiftly leading her partner down a flock of stairs. In another scene, she is peacefully strolling across a park alongside a friend. “I want my artwork to show that guide dogs can not only be a ‘guardian’, but also a great companion to their partner.”
Sandra first fell in love with painting at a very young age. “My hearing impairment has never caused me any inconvenience when creating art. Rather, it has allowed me to be more focused. Not being able to hear has sharpened my other senses, making me even more eager to express my inner thoughts,” she said with confidence.
Sandra, an arts instructor, who worked in the design industry before, is happy to encourage more people to get out of their comfort zones to try creating art work. “There is always a way to create a beautiful painting, even if you don’t know anything about it. I have always encouraged my students to make new attempts and embrace bold ideas in painting. I believe actively trying is the most important thing in art creation.”
Since 2013, Link’s properties have been open for guide dog puppy training, and Link has provided support to HKGDA for eight years to increase public awareness of guide dog services. In financial year 2021/22, HKGDA will continue the local breeding and training of guide dogs in Hong Kong with the support of Link, aiming to benefit visually impaired persons and promote an inclusive community.
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