Wanderlust in Mahjong Craftsmanship Exhibition

We are happy to decide that our ‘Wanderlust in Mahjong Craftsmanship’ exhibition will be extended until end of February in ‘The Art of Mahjong Craft’ themed studio!

We will continue to bring our travellers through an immersive journey of revival for Hong Kong Mahjong craftsmanship in every Saturday afternoon until 27 February 2021 throughout the upcoming Chinese New Year period.

Each member of Cheung’s family played an important role in the mahjong manufacturing factory during 1980s-2000s

The illustrator Karen Aruba’s grandfather setup the ‘Fuk Hing Lung Mahjong Factory’ in 1963 and experienced a range of ups and downs before finally closing in 2009. Together with her father, Master Ricky Cheung, they have kept the ‘Art of Mahjong Craft’ spirit alive with a number of ventures in the past few years, with the new art studio reinvented in JCCAC the latest effort to revive this old tradition with a modern twist.

The exhibition allows us to learn more about the different materials of Mahjong as well as different patterns of hand-carved tiles in different countries
Hand-carving mahjong tile

To carve the entire set of beautiful mahjong tiles by hand, a craftsman needs a combination of consummate skills, many years of experience, and carving-sharp focus. This is perhaps why only a few old masters are still quietly and diligently practising in this craft in Hong Kong, a metropolis that places a high value on cost efficiency above all else. However, Karen Aruba, founder of Karen Aruba Studio and illustrator, and her father, Master Ricky Cheung, one of the few remaining hand-carved mahjong tile craftsmen of Hong Kong, have chosen to preserve this ‘Traditional Mahjong Making Process’ that was registered as an intangible cultural heritage of Hong Kong. In September 2020, a studio is setup in JCCAC with the goal of passing down Hong Kong’s hand-carved mahjong art craft and culture through a combination of mahjong-themed activities and illustrations, despite the constraints of pandemic situation.

The opening of the studio is a big milestone in the rebirth of Cheung’s family devoted to the mahjong craft sector. In this new studio, other than allowing people to admire the hand-carved mahjong tiles along with historic exhibits of mahjong-related craftwork, there is a trendy mahjong design and workshops presenting ideas integrated with valuable hand-carving skills, laser-engraved technology, mixed Chinese and Western cultures. The popular tile colouring workshop has attracted many western visitors to experience the joy of mahjong from an all-new artistic angle in local Hong Kong culture, while the recent guided tour also attracted expat of Hong Kong to visit.

A joint effort of two generations to preserve mahjong craftsmanship

As the third generation, Karen naturally hopes to spread the story of mahjong craftsmanship through her illustrations despite all photos of her grandfather’s factory were not kept. In 2017, in order to preserve this story and rejuvenate the mahjong craftwork scene, Karen illustrated the theme ‘How to Make Mahjong’ and was invited to participate in DesignInspire Fair by HKTDC. The collaboration between father and daughter has bridged the gap between craftsmanship and art, and eventually led to a number of design and printing awards in 2018 and multiple invitations to art exhibitions at PMQ, Hong Kong Youth Square, exhibition in Aruba, a Caribbean Sea island where Karen lived there for a year when she was a kid, and widespread media coverage.

A traditional mahjong polishing machine is displayed at JCCAC 7/F. A good opportunity to know more about Hong Kong history.
AndyPoll, a freelance photographer, is invited to modify precious photos of Fuk Hing Lung Mahjong Factory from Kowloon City to Kowloon Bay during 1980s-2000s. These blissful black & white photos make it nostalgic.

自從成本低、產量高的機器印製麻雀出現,手雕麻雀工藝在香港已日漸式微,懂得手雕麻雀這門技藝的老師傅更已賣少見少。製作漂亮的手雕麻雀需要非常深厚的功力、長時間的磨練亦非常花心神。Karen Aruba Studio策劃人及插畫師Karen Aruba和她的父親香港碩果僅存的手雕麻雀工匠卻選擇守護這項「麻雀牌製作技藝」被列入香港非物質文化遺產的傳統手工藝,並剛進駐賽馬會創意藝術中心(JCCAC) ,意以嶄新獨特的「麻雀獻藝」主題配合插畫傳承香港手雕麻雀文化與工藝。即將於工作室開放日舉行的雀藝遊踪創意展,將帶領大家深度體驗復興香港手雕麻雀工藝與文化 ─ 從1963年祖父建立的「復興隆麻雀廠」到2009年結業、再到第三代傳承人Karen令故事重生的奇妙旅程。

進駐賽馬會創意藝術中心啟發了兩父女更多創作靈感,父親負責手雕麻雀,Karen 主力塗色及插畫部份。他們埋首創作,設計出多款新作品,將於以下時間開放工作室讓大家有機會目睹手雕麻雀與藝術合成品,是將Karen 祖父建立的「復興隆麻雀廠」再次重生的巨大意義里程碑。


Wanderlust in Mahjong CraftmanshipAn immersive journey of revival for Hong Kong Craftsmanship 

Karen Aruba Open Studio | Exhibition
Exhibition Dates:From now on until 27 February 2021 (Every Saturday, except Public Holiday) i.e. (Jan 9, 16, 23 & 30, Feb 6, 13, 20, 27)
Open Hours/ Location:14:30 – 18:00 / L6-15, JCCAC, Shek Kip Mei, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, special arrangement and social distancing measures will be implemented. Thank you for your understanding. We wish everyone stay safe and healthy in upcoming Chinese New Year of the Ox!