Courtesy of the artist

With a career spanning seven decades, Chan Kwok-yuen is Hong Kong’s foremost Cantonese opera costume maker. Having innovatively used new materials refecting Hong Kong’s industrial development in the post-war era, Kwok-yuen has witnessed the greater part of this art form’s history in Hong Kong. While rooted in various ancient art forms, Cantonese opera is primarily a modern vernacular phenomenon. Through its hybridity and constant transformation, it has mirrored China’s great upheavals over the past century and a half. Chinese Opera costumes accurately depict those worn across China’s various eras, thus efortlessly maintaining a historical record spanning the past two millennia through fashion – a subtle contribution to the sense of identity and continuity of the Chinese community.

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