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Recreation of Being

In this continuation of our serial, we examine how art promotes community, encourage art appreciation, and remind people of their common shared experiences. These purposes are not core to the business of operating the MTR train system in Hong Kong, but the art on the Island Line do provide intrinsic value to the passenger experience.

Recreation of Being is an energetic, inviting, child-friendly glass mosaic mural based on Zhao Hai Tien’s 1997 painting Being. While admiring it, it is easy to imagine patterns, like finding the silhouette of an elephant in cloud formations. The design is reminiscent of Australian aboriginal dot paintings, but the shapes, patterns and colours are universal. This painting could come from almost any culture. 

This artwork is spiritual. Although Zhao is not overtly painting deities or religious symbols, she is pursuing spiritual truth. In this painting, a scientific mind might see elements and atoms existing in the space around us, their movement, interaction, and relationships. From this perspective, it is impossible to see differences between people. This is one of many truths that might be perceived while meditating on this art installation.

Text and photos Martin Wray