In celebration of the 20th anniversary establishment of the HKSAR, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) in Singapore, in collaboration with The Photographic Heritage Foundation, have presented the Photo Exhibition “Lee Fook Chee: Son of Singapore – Photographer of Hong Kong” in The Arts House, Singapore during 3 August to 3 September, 2017.
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mrs Carrie Lam, who officiated and spoke at the Opening Reception of the photo exhibition at the Arts House, Singapore on August 2, said that the exhibition not only conveys the photographer’s keen creative eye and interest in his subject, it also captures a time when Hong Kong was entering a period of huge post-war transformation.
She also added that the exhibition also served to nurture and preserve our collective memories. Born in Singapore and finding his creative calling in Hong Kong, Mr Lee, through his life and artwork, echoes the strong bonds between the people of Singapore and Hong Kong. His photos from the 1950s Hong Kong convey the can-do spirit of people of all backgrounds who helped to build our city: the values of hard work, creativity and determination that we all share.
Read her full speech here.
The event was graced by more than 120 guests from the diplomat, government, business, academic and arts and culture sectors, as well as friends from the Hong Kong communities in Singapore, attended the Opening Reception. Some 50 local and Hong Kong press representatives covered the event.
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Lee Fook Chee (1927-2012) was born in Singapore and was given over at birth to an adoptive family, and had a hard childhood.
In 1947, then a seaman, he came ashore in Hong Kong. During the 1950s, Lee Fook Chee photographed Hong Kong, earning a simple living selling his photos to tourists on The Peak.
In 2011, Lee’s treasure trove of 1950s negatives came to the notice of Edward Stokes, founder and publisher of The Photographic Heritage Foundation.
Lee Fook Chee’s story is powerful and moving. The exhibition will describe key periods of his life and photography: Introduction; Singapore, Early Years; Hong Kong, Seaman and Photographer; 1950s Travel and Tourism; and Lee’s Later Years.
Besides Lee’s birth in Singapore, there are other links to Singapore – especially through 1950s travel. Then an era of mainly ship voyaging, many travellers to Asia visited both Singapore and Hong Kong, notably aboard European ‘liner’ vessels.
Photos held in the National Archives of Singapore (NAS), taken by Marjorie Doggett and agreed by the NAS for a Lee Fook Chee exhibition, pose intriguing parallels – and great differences – between Lee’s and Doggett’s lives and work.
Hong Kong has changed profoundly since Lee’s time, as vividly shown by contemporary photos of the city. A side aspect of the exhibition will be a display of “Past and Present” framed photos, and a “Past and Present” presentation on a LCD monitor