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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View This Issue
ASIA / PACIFIC
Page 4 n THE ASIAN REPORTER
April 4, 2016
Metal cubes, North Korea handcrafts
highlight Hong Kong art show
By Kelvin Chan
The Associated Press
ONG KONG — Gold-plated metal cubes,
tapestries embroidered by unknown North
Korean artisans, and bales of cardboard waste
were among the highlights of the Art Basel Hong Kong
The latest edition of the global art fair threw open its
doors to media and VIP collectors in March in the
southern Chinese city, which has become Asia’s main art
Some 239 galleries from 35 countries and territories
exhibited works at the show, which was open to the public
for three days.
Organizers shrugged off concerns about whether
China’s slowdown and a shaky world economy are
dampening global art demand.
“Maybe I think collectors will ask a lot more questions
before they agree to a sale, but I think generally speaking,
it just feels like everyone is very excited about the art
world,” said Adeline Ooi, Art Basel’s Asia director. The
show is an offshoot of the annual contemporary art fair in
Chinese artist Zhang Ding attracted curious visitors
with his “18 Cubes” installation, which consists of 18 large
steel boxes plated with 24-karat gold to give them a
In a twist, Zhang invited fairgoers to scratch whatever
they wanted onto the surface, using anything they were
carrying with them, or black crystal shards provided for
Coco Li, who runs a Shanghai company buying art on
behalf of corporate Chinese clients, scratched the Chinese
characters for “interactive art” onto one cube.
“This kind of art is better than ‘quiet’ art,” said Li,
gesturing to paintings displayed by a nearby gallery.
South Korean artist Kyungah Ham presented
“Chandeliers in Five Cities,” the latest in her series of
embroidered works crafted with the help of unidentified
North Korean workers. Ham settled on chandeliers as a
reference to political power after she noticed one in a
picture of world leaders meeting to divide the Korean
Peninsula into north and south at the end of World War II.
She said she sends materials and digital images of her
designs to the unidentified North Korean artisans
through secretive middlemen who travel through China.
It can take up to a year before she gets one back.
Ham said she was inspired after she found a North
Korea propaganda flyer in front of the home of her parents
“I wanted to send back these kinds of fliers in a very
artistic way,” she said.
METH BUSTERS. Thai policemen display some of the 498 pounds
of crystal meth and 18 pounds of heroin during a press conference in
Bangkok, Thailand. Thai police arrested 15 Malaysians trying to smuggle
millions of dollars of crystal meth and heroin stashed in luggage on a
train bound for Malaysia. Many of the packages were wrapped up like
children’s presents in paper with teddy bears and hearts. (AP Photo/
Thailand arrests 15 Malaysians,
seizes crystal meth on train
BANGKOK (AP) — Thai police reports say they have
arrested 15 Malaysians trying to smuggle millions of
dollars worth of crystal meth and heroin stashed in
luggage on a train bound for Malaysia.
Police say the seizure included 226 kilograms (498
pounds) of crystal meth and eight kilograms (18 pounds)
of heroin. The meth, also known as “ice,” has an estimated
street value in Thailand exceeding 452 million baht ($13
million), said police Col. Putidej Boonkrapueh. The drugs
were destined for Malaysia, where the street price is
double, and for other markets, police said.
Police Lt. Gen. Thitiraj Nhongharnpitak called the
seizure a “huge bust” at a news conference where the
drugs were spread across large tables in a variety of
packages, including many wrapped up like children’s
presents in paper with teddy bears and hearts.
Thitiraj, the commissioner of Thailand’s Central
Investigation Bureau, said authorities acted on a tip that
couriers would attempt to transport a large quantity of
drugs by travelling from the Thai capital to Malaysia.
He said the narcotics had come from northern Thailand,
but declined to discuss other details about the operation.
Northern Thailand is a known trafficking route for
drugs coming out of Myanmar, which is Southeast Asia’s
largest producer of methamphetamines and heroin.
Film’s dark vision of future
Hong Kong unsettles Beijing
Continued from page 2
on the lookout for banned
Social worker Thomas
Choi, 36, said attempts to
stop the movie from being
seen would backfire. He
said he became interested
in the movie after reading
“Even though it’s set in
2025, the producers and
filmmakers are talking
about something that’s
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GLOBAL ART FAIR. A man looks at an art installation, “Face To
Face” (top photo), created by Taiwan artist Peng Hung-chih, during the
VIP preview of the Art Basel Hong Kong fair. Gold-plated metal cubes,
tapestries embroidered by unknown North Korean artisans, and 18 large
steel boxes plated with 24-karat gold were among the highlights at the art
fair. Indonesian artist Tintin Wulia’s collection of cardboard bales (bottom
photo) was the result of a yearlong investigation into the recycling micro-
economy. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Indonesian artist Tintin Wulia’s collection of cardboard
bales is the result of her yearlong investigation into a
recycling micro-economy involving scrap collectors and
Filipino migrant domestic workers who spend their days
off in the heart of Hong Kong’s financial district.
She said the project examines how the material links
seemingly unrelated groups in Hong Kong society and
also symbolizes the city’s widening wealth gap.