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EILEEN CHANG AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: HISTORIC IMAGES AND DOCUMENTS FROM THE ARCHIVES
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18 Nov 2020 - 17 Jan 2021

 

On the occasion of the centennial celebration of Eileen Chang’s (1920 –⁠1995) birth this year, the University Museum and Art Gallery, Faculty of Arts and Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) are pleased to present Eileen Chang at the University of Hong Kong: Historic Images and Documents from the Archives from November 18, 2020 to January 17, 2021.

Eileen Chang was a major twentieth-century writer and one of the most celebrated former students in the history of HKU Faculty of Arts. She arrived at the university in August 1939 and left without completing her degree in May 1942 during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, after classes were interrupted by the war. Chang began her career as a writer in 1942 shortly after she returned to Shanghai. Two volumes marked Chang’s early literary success in Shanghai: a collection of short stories and novellas entitled Romances (1944) and a book of prose entitled Written on Water (1945). Her “tales of two cities”—Shanghai and Hong Kong—were some of the most endearing narratives in her early literary output, contrasting two urban environments as mirrors and shadows of one another. Showcasing a selection of images and documents from the HKU Archives, this physical exhibition pieces together a narrative that highlights the beginning of an extraordinary literary career. Co-curator of the exhibition, Professor Nicole Huang, Chairperson of the Department of Comparative Literature in the Faculty of Arts said, "As Chang's alma mater and a starting point of her literary journey, HKU and the Faculty of Arts have a responsibility to help preserve her legacy. Heartfelt thanks to the HKU Archives and other collectors, we are very pleased to be able to have this physical exhibition held at the historic Fung Ping Shan Library. Our work will continue and the legacy of Eileen Chang lives on".

The physical exhibition takes place at UMAG’s newly refurbished Study Gallery on the ground floor of the historic Fung Ping Shan Building, which opened in 1932 as the Fung Ping Shan Library. While the building today constitutes the old wing of UMAG, as a library it used to hold a wide array of rare and precious Chinese-language books. During the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941, many HKU students, including Eileen Chang, were involved in defense and relief work. Chang was lucky enough to be placed in the Fung Ping Shan Library, where, surrounded by books, she felt like “a child in a cake shop” (The Book of Change).

Drawn from the HKU Archives and other public and private collections, this exhibition includes Chang’s student records, photographs and personal documents. As a complimentary counterpart to the physical exhibition, a virtual exhibition has also been launched.

Visit the virtual exhibition here

 

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