A visual memoir like no other, Once Upon a Hong Kong, is a stirring collection of personal work by artist-illustrator Don Mak that captures scenes of everyday life in an ever-evolving city where traces of the past continue to disappear. Each painting is a poignant reflection of the present that he hopes to pass down to his newborn daughter as well as the next generation in inspiring them to be more thoughtful about their local heritage, as they continue to beat the odds. A heartfelt and at times haunting tribute to his beloved home, Don’s first book also features a striking use of colour and authentic storytelling depicting meaningful moments that will forever remain frozen in time.
In the words of the artist:
When this book began to slowly but surely materialise back in 2018, The Moment of Hong Kong felt like a fitting title for it, based on all the artwork Don had completed to that point. However, as time went on along with the circumstances that unfolded in its wake –– both to the creative production process and the city at large –– a ‘moment’ suddenly seemed too small. With the addition of new artwork, the version of the book that you see today has taken on new meaning as a documentation of sorts for all the dramatic changes that has occurred ‘Once Upon a Hong Kong’ – frame by frame.
In creating this book, I was drawn to the works of Czech author and artist M. Sasek, who told the story of a prosperous city in the 1960s through This is Hong Kong. Sasek’s brush strokes captured a vivid energy that photographs could not, and Don was inspired to do the same for his dear daughter by depicting everyday life as we know it today so that no matter what happens tomorrow, she will always have a sense of the home she knows to see and feel. — Don Mak
Illustrated by Don Mak
Written by Miss Black Cat
Published by Viction Viction
Language: Bilingual (English and Chinese)
Format: Hardcover, 48 pages
Dimensions: 23.4 x 38.1 cm
Full Title: Once Upon a Hong Kong
Publication Date: 2020