For its tenth year, Liverpool International Photography Festival explores Cities of Exchange, twinning Liverpool with Hong Kong through a series of newly commissioned works by artists based in both places. The largest photography festival in the North, curated this year by Hong Kong-based curator Ying Kwok (curator of Manchester’s CFCCA between 2006 and 2012 and organiser of Hong Kong’s Venice Biennale Pavilion in 2017), will tell the stories of both cities through themes of urbanism, social housing, architecture, commerce and colonialism.
One of the featured artists, Wo Bik Wong, has shown internationally in over 100 exhibitions; less frequently displayed in the West, her photography and mixed media work is rooted in city architecture’s cultural and historical significance. New work for LOOK/17 focuses on the Port of Liverpool Building, one of the city’s famous Three Graces and on Liverpool’s waterfront, which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Derek Man, on the other hand, has examined social housing in China; in Hong Kong, half of the population lives in public housing. Capturing both the oldest and newest social housing, including controversial examples like the cage homes (wire mesh cages that fit little more than a thin mattress), Man examines how an exchange of ideas might bring change to social housing in both Liverpool and Hong Kong.
A series of public realm projects featuring the work of photographer Michael Wolf – who has worked to capture the intense density of Hong Kong – will also be shown at Mann Island and the Victoria Gallery and Museum; Wolf is also on show in a new exhibition at CFCCA called A Private Public from 12 May.