Chloe Rose Taylor, Hong Kong
I write to you from Hong Kong. It’s 2.15pm, 30 degrees, and pouring with rain. Thunder cracks loudly above from thick grey cloud, flashes of lightning fill the sky. These thunderstorms happen most days, the current month of September is the last of the rainy season.
I vividly remember how strange it was when I first arrived, to be caught out in the rain but not feel cold. In New Zealand when it rains, it’s freezing. You try to stay indoors. In Hong Kong when it rains, my heart fills all the way to the top. There is a romance to it, a warm feeling of comfort.
I’m sitting at my messy studio desk writing, the air is thick, I have a window open so I can hear the rain fall outside. I enjoy the sound of heavy rain. My view is only of the empty, flooding street below or the 1960s apartments across the street. The loud thunder booms above, it sounds close by.
August 2020 marked my one-year anniversary with Hong Kong. The city is now familiar and parts of it feel like home. The evening view of twinkling skyscrapers as far as the eye can see across Victoria Harbour, the main streets lined with century-old trees, bustling wet food markets in the hot sun. How a crowd of people move like a peaceful wave up an MTR escalator and out onto the street. The strange feeling of being entirely surrounded by people but never locking eyes with a single one of them. Only a New Zealander would miss eye contact with strangers.
I came to Hong Kong as a sort of retreat for myself, and from myself – my own brand of chicken soup for the soul. I needed to get out of New Zealand to get to know myself better. It’s bizarre to engage with a city as vast as Hong Kong and note how it’s changing you. Recently I met a man who moved to Hong Kong because of the 1994 movie Chungking Express. You must watch it, it’s a charming depiction of Hong Kong. If I wasn’t here already it would have had a similar effect on me.
My art practice moves at a slower pace here. I’ve been setting up my studio space with the tools and equipment I had back in New Zealand. This took a lot longer than I thought it would, due to Covid-19 mostly. The last six months have consisted mainly of dancing around our small apartment listening to loud music on my headphones and eating far too much delicious local food. I can tell you I’m slowly constructing a series of leather objects to be photographed still-life style, using materials sourced from around Hong Kong. I’m happy with how it is starting to come together as my exploring of the city begins to influence my work.
Anyway, it’s time I stopped writing. I think of you often Christchurch, a city close to my heart: my childhood with you. I plan to return to Aotearoa in time.
With love from Hong Kong.