Celebrating shift workers through illustrations
The exhibition caps the students’ learning outcome over the 12-week course, where they were tasked with developing various projects, including editorial illustrations, community portraits as well as a visual narrative project.
For the visual narrative project, each student selected one of the editorial articles about shift workers from Hong Kong Shifts, which is a social impact storytelling platform that has been sourcing and sharing stories of shift workers for the last three years to promote social inclusion and engagement in the city. Over a period of six weeks, the students worked with the Hong Kong Shifts team, conducted research and fieldwork about their subject, re-interpreted their stories, and created a series of comics, each covering four pages and 12 panels.
Done in a two-tone style, the students’ comic artworks capture the everyday life of seven individuals serving our community. Without showing the workers’ facial expressions or having any written commentary, these creative illustrations invite viewers to freely construct their own understanding of the stories.
For Hester Lee, a Year 4 Visual Arts student, she was impressed by the story of an ocean lifeguard and developed her work based on it. “I used to think that it is easy to be a lifeguard, but after reading the article about the details of their job, it changed my perspective completely,” she says. Featuring the sea in pale turquoise, Hester’s realistic portrayal of unpredictable weather conditions at a beach, the dangerous force of waves, and ocean rescues highlights the challenges of a lifeguard.
Manson Leung, a Year 2 Business Administration student who has a passion for art, was drawn to the story of a convenience store cashier. He says: “We are often in a hurry when shopping at convenience stores, and we seldom take notice of the work of the staff. In my comic, I included some scenes of the storekeeper stocking the shelves in order to draw viewers’ attention to her contribution and hard work.” To make sure his illustration is accurate, Manson visited a convenience store in his neighbourhood four days in a week, each time staying around an hour to observe the work of the storekeeper.
Inspired by the experience of taking part in this project, both students are enthusiastic about utilising art to create community impact. Hester aspires to raise awareness of seldom-discussed social issues through visual arts, and Manson is interested in working with different community centres and using his illustration skills to promote community involvement.