Before the Rain

A Hong Kong permanent identity card in a silver frame sits on a white shelf, with a pile of identity card fragments scattered nearby.


21 January 2017 -
19 March 2017


4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

181-187 Hay St, Haymarket

Exhibition opening:
Saturday 21 January, 2017

Access the Media Release here

Before the onset of a downpour there is a moment of heavy humidity that hangs low in the air. Building over time it signals the inevitability of a deluge that will interrupt and intercept patterns of normality. For Hong Kong, a city defined by humidity, the deluge that began on September 28 2014 was the result of a long and steady buildup of uncertainty, anxiety and the long held need to articulate a cohesive identity for the city.  Before the Rain addresses the tensions that precipitated the recent political and civil urgency in Hong Kong and the city’s pressing need to reimagine its future.

The exhibiting artists frame the conversation from a multiplicity of perspectives presenting the complexity and concerns of a city facing a future planned by others. They approach the city with an intent to protect it; their works may appear as warnings but they are underpinned by a need to safeguard.  Commissioned for the exhibition is a new work by Sampson Wong that transforms the entrance gallery into a narration of the Umbrella Movement. Ephemera taken from the streets, continuous loops of CCTV and news footage, blogs, tweets and newspapers will populate the gallery inviting the viewer to sift through the materials and navigate their own opinion of a city in flux. Before the Rain responds to a continuously evolving discourse, proving to be one of the most critical events in South East Asia’s recent history.

Download the Room Sheet here.

Before the Rain installation view 1
The left and right walls are covered with large printed-maps and architectural drawings, with small brown labels on them, and green and pink memo notes are sticked around.
Three sets of triangular retractable barriers are placed in the middle of an exhibition hall.
A Hong Kong permanent identity card in a silver frame sits on a white shelf, with a pile of identity card fragments scattered nearby.
A video is projected onto a white floor screen. Next to it are three red banners placed on the ground in other, with the slogans in both English and Chinese written in white colour.
A banner made of red cloth were placed on the ground, with the words "Stop Discriminating or We Will Give You a Warm Hug" written in English and Chinese.
A real and reproduced protest posters from The Hong Kong Umbrella Movement are pasted on the wall along the staircase.
A piece of cardboard hung from a gazebo with the words “UMBRELLA MOVEMENT VISUAL ARCHIVE RESEARCH COLLECTIVE" written in white.