Dual Identity: Between arts and education


Run Run Shaw Creative Media Center, where Zheng Bo's office locates

Run Run Shaw Creative Media Center, where Zheng Bo works (Photo by Eileen)

HONG KONG_ Irregularly shaped and artistically designed, the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Center building stands distinctively among the surrounding architecture. Despite the somewhat disobedient outside, its inside is serious and conventional. The contrast in itself demonstrates its duality.

Zhong Bo, 39, an artist and professor at City University of Hong Kong (Photo by Eileen)

Zhong Bo, 39, an artist and professor of City University of Hong Kong (Photo by Eileen)

Resembling the building where his office locates, Zheng Bo is also a person of duality.

Zheng, 39, has been working in arts ever since his undergraduate years when he took it as his major. Now, having created many artistic works and held exhibitions in many major cities all over the world (Hong Kong, Beijing, Barcelona, Berlin, etc.), he is already an established artist.

“I always think being an artist is a great excuse for doing things,” Zheng says, “A lot of people want to do interesting or crazy things, but they can’t convince either themselves or other people. Artists always enjoy such privilege.”

For more than ten years, Zheng has been working on ‘socially engaged’ arts, focusing upon minority groups – Filipinos, lesbian couples in Hong Kong, etc. The central theme of the idea – as its name indicates – is to engage people in arts and arouse public attention on particular groups in society.

Artistic work by Zheng Bo at the exhibition (Photo by Eileen)

Zheng, along with many other artists, has held many exhibitions on the theme. The most recent one – Shamans and dissent – is being held at Hanart Square in Hong Kong.

Zheng is also working as a professor, teaching art in City University of Hong Kong. He says he enjoys his current work and feels fortunate to have gone into these two professions.

“Part of my work as an artist is to expand the notion of teaching; a lot of my work is also about teaching,” he says. “Teaching and doing arts are complementary to each other.”

“They are both serious,” Zheng says, “It [teaching art] pushes me to think through everything more clearly as I need to clarify them to my students.” Meanwhile, he has been trying to reflect something serious in his artistic works as well as his lessons. He says there are a lot more to explore in both areas.

“It’s still an ongoing process. For me, the goal is quite clear, and I just need to keep working on both,” Zheng says, with a determined expression.