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I came across the mural purely by chance. I was doing the "tourist thing" one day at the end of a business trip to Hong Kong last fall and had taken the MTR Island Line to Central Station. Although the mural is fairly long, each MTR train is considerably longer and I could have easily ridden in a car that stopped somewhere else along the platform. But I didn't. I rode in the car which stopped right in front of the mural.

Noticing the mural, I stood aside as my fellow passengers walked on by. When the crowd had cleared, I stood back a bit (not far enough given the limited space on the platform) and tried to absorb the work.

According to a press release on the MTR web site, the mural is 17 meters long and 3 meters high. The mural is actually a mosaic which is constructed out of thousands of roughly 2cm square ceramic tiles.

The mural's "primary image" is a landscape scene "drawn", using ceramic tiles, in the traditional Chinese ink brush painting style. There's a rocky hillscape in the background with trees, flowers, shrubs and birds in the foreground. There's a river off to the far right and a larger body of water with a few Chinese junks on the far left. The overall impression that one gets is that it probably depicts Hong Kong in the pre-colonial era.

Viewed at this level, it's a quite charming work of art. What sets it apart is that the artist has incorporated a "secondary image" into the mural.

This secondary image is "drawn" using lower contrast ceramic tiles. It depicts, or in some cases merely hints at, the "present day" face of Hong Kong by including a variety of modern buildings. These faintly drawn buildings are grouped into clusters and seem to either sprout out of the distant landscape or possibly just hang in midair somehow.

Back to the primary image for a moment, there is a colonial era building in the left central foreground. It is the only building in the primary image and the only colonial era building in the entire work. As such, in a sense, it doesn't really "belong" although its presence most definitely does "work" as it serves to bring the two images together into a single work both from a purely artistic/stylistic sense and in a thematic/historical sense.

The overall effect goes way beyond "charming". It's a truly enchanting work.

The mural is located on the Central Station's platform 4 next to where the Sheung Wan-bound Island Line trains stop (due to the layout of this station, the mural is also very close to where one would disembark from a Tsuen Wan Line train at Central Station - just walk over to the opposite platform when you get off the Tsuen Wan Line train). If you ever find yourself with a few minutes to spare in this station, it is definitely worth the time that it will take to savour this work of art.

The work is titled "Home with A View". It is by Lucia N.Y. Cheung, a Hong Kong artist of some renown. According to a press release on the MTR web site, Ms. Cheung states that the work was inspired by Central Station itself. She explains that "Hong Kong is a metropolis where the East meets the West and Central is the political, economic and financial hub of the city. Here in Central, one may find modernism in traditionalism, order in turmoil and simplicity in extravagance. Therefore, according to my conception, the subject of the painting should be extensive, incorporating a collation of landscape, flowers, birds as well as modern and traditional buildings."

The work was unveiled on November 14, 2003. I came across the work on the last day of my trip to Hong Kong - the 15th of November, 2003 (did I mention that I came across the mural by chance?).

Note: the somewhat unusual capitalization used in the title of this "Home with A View" w/u is presumably correct as it is identical to the capitalization used in the plaque which appears beside the mural in Central Station.

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