Greg Girard: Richmond/Kowloon features Vancouver-based artist Greg Girard’s photographs recording the social and physical transformations in two cities: Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City and Richmond, BC. Organized by Richmond Art Gallery curator Nan Capogna, the exhibition includes previously created work documenting Kowloon Walled City as well as a new body of photographic images of Richmond and its residents.
A singular Hong Kong phenomenon, the Walled City housed up to 35,000 people living in over three hundred interconnected high-rise buildings covering one square city block in a densely populated neighbourhood forming a city within a city. Though demolished twenty years ago in 1993, interest in the Kowloon Walled City continues, fuelled in part by urban legends that persist about this extraordinary community.
In the past twenty years the City of Richmond has undergone profound physical and demographic changes, a process of urbanization and immigration, much of it from Hong Kong and China, as well as other places. Recording the physical city, homes, shops, and businesses where Richmond residents live and work, Girard’s new body of work reflects a city evolving and in transition, a microcosm of a larger global movement of people, networked, moving, and relocating, seeking greater opportunities in new territories.
This exhibition links these two communities, Richmond and Kowloon, both of them lesser-known (and formerly rural, working-class) entities within a better-known whole: Vancouver/Richmond and Hong Kong in the case of Kowloon. The resulting images serve to document the social fabric and physical development of Richmond in the second decade of the twenty-first century.
The Richmond Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the City of Richmond, British Columbia Arts Council, and the Province of British Columbia. Additional funding for this exhibition has been generously provided by the Vancouver Foundation and Metro Vancouver.