Herman Wong Yee-tak is getting ready for his first solo painting exhibition May 2-11 entitled “Come and Go” at the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre in Shek Kip Mei, Hong Kong, reports timeout.com.hk.
His display will be a series of paintings featuring half-naked Asian men created by using only a special painting knife.
The striking male model images are meant to evoke passion and be a commentary on the loneliness and pain felt by some gay men in modern society, Wong told timeout.com.hk.
An exhibition piece titled Relationships and depicting seven ripped men wearing tight briefs posing in a scarlet lake against a green sky, for example, was meant to represent the “rather tenuous relationships” and “lack of spiritual connection” between gay men he said.
“From the people I know and from my own friends, it seems there is an inescapable struggle. The red lake represents the pain and hurt while you can also see that all the men are by themselves and lonely. Yet there is still a colorful desire – lust even.”
“The feelings and emotions that are felt in this collection are between two men,” says Wong. “Some of the pieces have a purposeful sex appeal and provocation. The men have pretty faces and bodies that people would want to worship – so it’s meant to be eye-catching.”
But they should also make the viewer stop and think too and shape society’s views on same sex relations, he added.
Wong’s paintings have a strong homoerotic element but he said he doesn’t want to be labeled as a “gay artist.”
His interest in homoerotic art was simply because of a lack of it in Hong Kong’s galleries. “There isn’t anyone really doing gay art or nudes in Hong Kong,” he says. “I felt that I should take this opportunity and do something that hasn’t been overdone here already.”
Wong, 44, started painting six years ago. For the past 18 years he was as a flight attendant for Cathay Pacific. However, he told timeout.com.hk, that he was always interested in the arts and admitted to feeling “unfulfilled.”
Earlier, he had studied at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and pursued a career as a creative film director until he was 26 after which he took to the air.
Since 2008, Wong began pursuing his hobby into “something serious.” In 2009 he did a joint exhibition and in 2012 he gained his first award nomination as a finalist for the Art Award at the HK Contemporary Art Fair.
Last year, he displayed his work at the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival opening gala.
Discrimination on the basis of sexuality is not banned in Hong Kong although same-sex relations were decriminalized in 1991. Much of society remains opposed to equal laws for same-sex couples.