Project Oikwan

Hong Kong’s streets inhabit a fascinating co-existence of old and new deeply woven into the urban fabric, it weaves through the architecture and shapes its unique districts. Change has always been a driving force and this city continues to dance its movement of disappearance, now at an unimaginable speed due to urban renewal and beautification, economic downturn, an evolving job market, and an aging population. We are witness to a crucial moment of vanishing culture and traditional trades - a sunset of great importance.

The Traditional Barber

Mark Lau ka-shing was born in Hong Kong in 1990, and grew up in a traditional hairdressing family.  He was majored in photography, taking commercial photography as his early career.  At one point Mark needed to make a choice between his family business and his dream, he chose to safeguard his father's business.  

Mark is now practising as a Traditional Canton barber and promoting the art of traditional barber from the perspective of an inheritor of this craftsmanship, aiming to preserve this traditional old industry of Hong Kong. He also participates in various community platforms to support the new generation artists and people in need in the society during his spare time.

'Oi Kwan Barbers has been cutting hair from the same Wan Chai alleyway since 1962. With redevelopment of the surrounding area looming, the future of this historic Hong Kong institution is uncertain.'

Project Statement

The contrast between old and new urban fabric mixture is one fascinating characteristic of Hong Kong's cityscape. Such co-existence on street, in architecture, and even at the district level. However, such character is disappearing at an unimaginable speed due to urban renewal, economic downturn, and aging population. We are now in a critical time of our disappearing culture. Project Oikwan demonstrates an alternative methodology for urban preservation and archival of our collective memory.

Oi Kwan Barber’s is a 60-year-old shop in an alleyway of Wan Chai being run by the late Master Lau and his son who has inherited his father’s craftsmanship. We use this well-preserved space as ground zero, inviting artists to experience and create artwork. Together, we tell the story of this disappearing culture through exhibitions, artist talks, guided tours, and books. We reconnect culture with artists, and their artworks with the public.

The Co-Producers & Supporters

Project Oikwan is a collaborative effort between Oi Kwan Barber's, Gallery In-between and Cheung Chau Wave.

The project is supported by HKIA and Design Trust Grant.

Mark Lau Ka Shing | Oikwan Barbers

Christina Brandt Jensen | Cheung Chau Wave

The prarticipating artists 

Abby Au Yeung / Aktin Dreiglo / Alexis Ip x Blue Lotus Gallery / Ben Marans / Benson Koo / Billy Potts / chaussette b / Christine He / Daniel Nahmias / Denise Mei Yan Hofmann / Ellen Lam x labxr / Issac Li / Jia Jia / Jin Heng / June Mung / JVSY / Kurt Tong / Longman / Louis To Wun 杜煥 / Merry Antbroidery / Monique Yim 嚴穎嘉 / Scentory / Sharon Lee / Shishi / Sin Wah Lai 黎倩華 / Siuding 小丁 / The Ink Trail / TypicalPlan / Wong Wei Him 王懷謙

Our Road Map

Project Oikwan In-progress, Cheung Chau, April 2023

After Sunset Festival, The Fringe Club, Central, Oct 2023

Lumpur-Nanjing-Hong Kong Roving Architecture Exhibition by HKIA

First Stop in Rumah Tangsi in Kuala Lumpur, 22 Jul - 7 Aug 2023

Second Stop in Nanjing, Oct 2023

Final Stop in Central Market, Hong Kong, Mar 2024

The In-progress

Time: Sat 29 April from 12pm till late / Sun 30 April from 12-8pm

Location: 1 Pak She Praya Street, Cheung Chau 長洲北社海傍街1號

Curated by Christina Brandt Jensen

Project Oikwan IN-PROGRESS is our first sharing of work in Praya Gallery, Cheung Chau. 32 artists featured in a weekend on Cheung Chau full of art, photography, music, performance, screenings, happenings & talks in a long weekend.  The event attracted 200 visitors with very positive feedbacks.  We believe what we are going to create at After Sunset Festival in the Fringe Club could make a much bigger social impact.

Project Oikwan In-progress Artists include Abby Au Yeung, Aktin dreiglO, Andreza eo Pandeiro, vivid machine, Benson Koo, Billy Potts 博之俊, Charlie Yip, Christine He, Daniel Nahmias, Elizabeth Briel, Ellen Lam, In-between Architects, Jia Jia, Jin Heng, June Mung, JVSY, Kurt Tong 唐景鋒, Issac Li, Longman, Louis To Wun 杜煥, Monique Yim 嚴穎嘉, Sharon Lee, Shishi, Sin Wah Lai 黎倩華, Siuding 小丁, The Ink Trail, Tiff Chan, TypicalPlan, Vinci Mok 莫穎詩, Wong Wei Him 王懷謙

The Rovering Exhibition

Project Oikwan was 1 of only 13 groups selected by the Hong Kong Institute of Architects to join its travelling exhibition under the theme of “In-between” to Kuala Lumpur [July 2023], Nanjing [October 2023] and to finish at Central Market [February 2024]. Funded by HKADC & CreateHK, including govt bodies: Hong Kong Housing Department, ArchSD & MTRC. We have pulled in the talents of Daniel Nahmias, Longman and Jin Heng to create an immersive installation of the barbershop which we believe will make us truly unique. We will project a slideshow of videos and stills of all your artwork - a solution to insufficient budget to ship and insure original artworks. Hopefully in Central Market we may be able to show some artworks and live performance.

Exhibition Designer | Daniel Nahmias / Studio Zaz

Exhibition Photographer | Jin Heng

Exhibition Sound Designer | Longman

Abby Au Yeung | Virtual Reality Artist

HARMONY IN DIVERSITY 2023 Connecting the Metropolis by In-between
Jul 22 - Aug 7 2023, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Supported by HKIA, CreateHK

Press release:

Exploring the world that lies in-between | Perspective

 Kuala Lumpur-Nanjing-Hong Kong Roving Architecture Exhibition | ArchDaily

'In-between' Symposium, KL, Malaysia, August 6, 2023 | Project Oikwan: In-between Art and Architecture by Ivan Wong

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