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Kai-Chun Chan : Gaze


Photographer Kai-Chun Chan took part in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy and pro-independence protests over the past two years. Combining a documentary approach with an artistic technique, his works received the First Floor Prize, award created by Stéphanie and Renaud Bergonzo, supporting works by young Asian photographer. Illustrated by a documentary, his photographic series “Glaze” tells the determination of the Hong Kong demonstrators, especially its youth, an essential component of the movement.

In March 2019, China’s interference into Hong Kong’s politics took a new turn. Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, proposed an amendment to the law extraditing Hong Kong criminals to China. Fighting for the abandonment of this amendment, and later on, extending their inquiries to democratic demands, the protests brought together several million people from March until January 2020.

On his series, Kai-Chun Chan declared : “The fight for Hong Kong’s freedom has blossomed in the past year. Facing crackdown, the protest movement could do little to fight back but dug out bricks and set roadblocks –whatever they could get their hands on. After the clashes, Lennon walls around Hong Kong have been painted over, though telltale signs remain as testament to the voices of dissent. On sidewalks, concrete filled holes and cracks spoke of the determination of our freedom fighters, whose sacrifice we will not soon forget.This series of works crystalised the spirit and stories of our youthful protestors. Through capturing the indelible mark of their ‘gazes’ upon our home city, it is a record of a resistance of ideals, of hopes and love.”

After being given to the Japanese photographer Izumi Miyazaki in the year of its creation (2018), then to the duo Chika & Ichio Usui, also from Japan, in 2019, the FirstFloor Prize will host Kai-Chun Chan in Paris for an artistic residency. The photographer will have a photographic studio at his disposal, while being able to meet collectors, curators, gallery owners, critics, and his public. The Prize is also a partner of the international photography festival KYOTOGRAPHIE and KG+.

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