06 September 2021

The Blurred Boundaries of a Fast-Changing History

06 September 2021 - Written by PhMuseum

Hidden in a peaceful yet flat atmosphere, at times cold and at times human, Hong Kong’s colonial past and dual identity are widespread in Jimmi Wing Ka Ho’s latest series that portrays a complex social and political panorama.

The entire project originated from self-identity, exploring the relationship between memory, identity, and freedom, including photos and archive documents, and opening a series of conversations among Hong Kong people about the future and history of the city and their complex emotions, the increasingly harsh socio-political environment. By capturing or investigating specific silent moments in daily life, from exploring Hong Kong borders to emigrating to the United Kingdom, I rely on this intuition and devote myself to creating a poetic language of photography, using nature's migration and growth as the metaphor. Attempt to record the finiteness of Hong Kong people and the calmness that arises in the environment.

"So close and yet so far away" is divided into two chapters. The "So Close and yet" in Chapter One mainly tells about the border and politics leftover from the undeniable Sino-British history, which became the inseparable relationship between the two cities. I tried to capture the portrayal and metaphors of daily life. The image is in a peaceful state, but hidden behind Hong Kong society, it is experiencing a complex tension and political environment.

The idea of boundaries originated from my childhood memories. I was born in China. When I was young, I often travelled between mainland China and Hong Kong with my mother. At that time, China's border city (Shenzhen) was still underdeveloped. As a passenger shuttle bus passing between the two places, I naturally developed a strong interest in the border. The border left a deep impression on me. From fields to high-rise buildings, the speed of China's development is far beyond my imagination, and my identity has changed over time, from a passenger to a resident. I began to understand the changes in Hong Kong society. Although we use the same language, there are complex social dynamics at the same time.

After Hong Kong ended as a British colony, history created borders, symbolizing the uniqueness of Hong Kong's identity and history. But under the current political system, the entire city is shrouded in a depressive atmosphere, and anxiety continues to increase. The prospect of large-scale immigration from Hong Kong reminds me of the years before the handover of Hong Kong. In 1985, Britain and China agreed to the 1997 handover agreement to return Hong Kong to China. In the past few years, a large number of Hong Kong residents have migrated. Historically, history has repeated itself, and the relationship between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom has led to changes in the entire community. The second chapter of "So far away" begins to expand the scope of the investigation of Hong Kong society based on the changes in history, explore the identity and memory of Hong Kong immigrants in the UK, and inject more emotions between each person and Hong Kong.

I tried to remove the label of the Twin Cities, blurring the boundaries between Britain and Hong Kong. It is trivial to record the history of our acquaintance in this land, but at least it is as stated in The Tale of Two Cities.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

Words and Pictures by Wing Ka Ho Jimmi.


Wing Ka Ho Jimmi (b. 1993) is a photographer based in Hong Kong and the UK. His works document historical landscapes and portraits in the community, investigating the political issues and social changes. His latest project, 'So close and yet so far away' documents Hong Kong society through diverse personal identities and geographic locations. Find him on PHmuseum and Instagram.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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