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Hong Kong native Hon Chi Fun’s growing up coincided with the evolution of the territory into a modern society. His artistic career mirrored this evolution, his style changing as Hong Kong developed its own artistic identity.
Hon’s early years in an old-fashioned private school introduced him to traditional Chinese culture, and then at Wah Yan College he learned the basics of Chinese painting. In 1958, Hon cofounded the Modern Literature and Art Association, a group that moved Hong Kong towards more modern artistic expression, with several members of the association, including Hon, participating in the first Hong Kong Arts Festival in 1960.
In 1969, Hon was awarded a John D Rockefeller III Fund Fellowship to study lithography and etching at the Pratt Graphics Centre in New York. By this time, he had also begun to paint in oil and his paintings of this period show a mastery of Western oil painting techniques. His individual style began to emerge with the use of bold, sweeping brushstrokes. His treatment of colours also showed evidence of his background in Chinese ink painting. In the 1970s and 1980s, Hon created a series of paintings called “spheres”, which reflect his interest in Taoism and phenomenology.
Two documentary films have been produced about Hon’s works. His murals grace the walls of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, his paintings are held in many corporate and private collections in Hong Kong, and he has also had a number of one-man shows.
Hon moved to Canada in 1992 but eight years later he returned to Hong Kong.