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Queen’s Road West, The Vanishing Neighbourhood – Book Launch and Exhibition Success

SAF Chairman Howard Bilton launches an exciting new photography book together with photographer William Furniss.

Change is inevitable, especially in the fast and furious city of Hong Kong. But is it progress? Or destruction? Introducing Queen’s Road West, the vanishing neighbourhood – a new body of photographic work which aims to document the history of one of Hong Kong’s most iconic streets before its traditional character is lost to gentrification.

When the cow-shaped neon sign advertising local eatery Sammy’s Kitchen disappeared from the street after almost three decades of serving as an iconic landmark, it struck a chord with many Hong Kong residents. Among them, Sovereign Art Foundation Chairman Howard Bilton and photographer William Furniss, who together decided that the images and histories of the shops along Queen’s Road West, so typical and representative of traditional Hong Kong, should be properly photographed and documented for posterity.

And so through a collective effort by Bilton, Furniss, a team of creatives and patient shop owners – many of whom have been running businesses on Queen’s Road West for generations – the project was born, and can now be enjoyed in book form.

On December 7, SAF friends and supporters gathered at Galerie Huit in Hong Kong to celebrate the launch of the book which has over 90 pages of high quality images of the street. The books make a perfect Christmas gift and can be purchased here. Prints were also on display in the gallery and are available to purchase by emailing us at art@sovereignartfoundation.com.

All proceeds from book sales will go to The Sovereign Art Foundation and specifically our Make It Better project, an initiative designed for the children of Hong Kong who live in extreme poverty and isolation. Make It Better currently works with over 200 children across Sham Shui Po, Tai Wai, Kowloon City, Tseung Kwan O and Wong Tai Sin. In these locations, many residents live in cramped conditions such as caged homes, subdivided flats, rooftops and even public car parks. As a result, they are frequently isolated from wider society.

Make It Better offers empowering learning activities reinforced by visual and expressive arts to teach these children self-awareness and confidence, helping them to build respect for themselves and others, develop stronger focus, and engage with the wider community. The programme is continuously growing and is now also working with children with special educational needs (SEN). Learn more about MIB here.