“A Foreign Land, A New Home: Shaun Tan’s The Arrival” Exhibition
The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) held the kick-off ceremony today (5 January) for an exhibition titled “A Foreign Land, A New Home: Shaun Tan’s The Arrival”, which marked the official launch of the “One City, One Book” campaign in Hong Kong.
“One City, One Book” is a community reading initiative, popular around the world for many years, which aims to encourage as many people as possible to read and discuss a single book at around the same time. The Arrival, an award-winning wordless graphic novel by the Chinese Australian graphic novelist Shaun Tan, has been chosen as the “one book” for 2019. Organised by the Centre for Popular Culture in the Humanities (CPCH) at EdUHK, the exhibition provides an opportunity for the public to appreciate acclaimed literature from a brand-new perspective.
Curated by Dr Zoran Poposki, Assistant Professor in the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts of EdUHK, the exhibition showcases more than 30 original drawings and prints from The Arrival. The free exhibition is now open to the public at Pao Galleries in the Hong Kong Arts Centre until 13 January.
Addressing the ceremony, Professor Lui Tai-lok, Vice President (Research and Development) of EdUHK, said, “The Arrival is the perfect book for Hong Kong’s first One City One Book initiative since many Hong Kongers have experienced migration within the last two generations. They have all experienced the challenges of finding their homes in a new environment and making new friends in an unfamiliar environment. It is our privilege for EdUHK to host such a meaningful campaign in Hong Kong for the very first time.”
“Through the initiative, EdUHK wishes to promote a reading culture and draw attention to questions of identity and a sense of belonging of migrants in the city,” added he. Also in attendance at the ceremony was Ms Angela Lee from Progressive Lawyers Group.
On the same occasion, EdUHK also staged a sharing session to discuss the visual and thematic aspects of The Arrival. Speaking at the session were Professor Kathleen Ahrens, Professor in the Department of English at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Dr Bidisha Banerjee, Director of the initiative and Assistant Professor in the Department of Literature and Cultural Studies at EdUHK; and Dr Zoran Poposki, Assistant Professor in the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts at EdUHK.
As a wordless graphic novel, Shaun Tan’s The Arrival transcends language barriers, as it tells the story of an immigrant in an imaginary country. It portrays a man who leaves his family and hometown to seek a better life in a foreign land. With only a few possessions and mementoes, the immigrant struggles to survive in his new home. Tan’s richly evocative images, reminiscent of a sepia-tinted photo album, show how sympathetic strangers, each with their own unspoken stories, make a new life possible in a new world.
A series of activities related to the The Arrival and its themes will be held by CPCH throughout the year. The activities will include discussions of the book and its themes, as well as exhibitions, film screenings, school events, cultural performances and library events, with a view to gather and encourage students, scholars and readers to focus their attention on The Arrival and the issues it raises.