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In 2007, Greene opened the first incarnation of Blue Lotus Gallery in the girl loft in Fo Tan, Hong Kong
“ My life seems to be the string of serendipities, ” says Sarah Greene, originator of Blue Lotus Gallery in Hong Kong. Born and raised in Ghent, Belgium, Greene became interested in Asia right after her childhood best friend chose to learn Korean as a teen. Greene accompanied her to an evening course at the College or university of Ghent and had been fascinated by the professor’s travels and the history of Asia.
Inspired, Greene decided to pursue the Masters in Oriental Disciplines and Cultures at university or college. “What you really learn when studying other cultures can be how strongly your mind is definitely defined by your own culture, religion and set of ideals. Our minds are less free than we tend to think, ” she observes.
In 2003, Greene made the leap plus took a job working as a shipbroker in Hong Kong during the SARS pandemic, which followed the particular Asian financial crisis. “R ent was inexpensive and bars were providing free drinks to ladies all night long, ” she says. “ It had been a strange time but the pandemic was short compared to what we are experiencing now. ”
Soon after arriving the economic climate started picking up, but , because Greene recalls, “the art scene was very small along with just a handful of galleries concentrating on artists from China and hardly any art fairs. The particular auctions were mainly centered on antiquities with their viewing displays taking place in conference rooms in ballrooms of resorts. ”
In her early 30s, Greene received the girl first company bonus plus bought an industrial attic in Fo Tan, a neighbourhood near the Chinese University in Hong Kong where a lot of artists kept studios. Identifying an opportunity to show their work, Greene opened the first incarnation of Blue Lotus Photo gallery in her loft in 2007.
Artists told Greene that “blue lotus” brought best of luck, and indeed it did. “Some now-famous artists like Koon Wai Bong, Lee Package, Sarah Lai, and Trevor Young had some of their initial solo exhibitions at my space, ” says Greene, whom focused on showing Hong Kong performers working in various media.
Right after closing her loft area, Greene continued to take part in the scene. In 2013, while showing Fan Ho’s photographs at a small artwork fair, she met Peter Lau, the founder of Asia One Printing Limited. Lau owned an industrial building that featured AO Vertical, an extremely unconventional memorial located inside a 14-story staircase. He invited Greene to operate the space and she launched this with a show of Fan Ho’s work.
“To view the exhibitions one took the particular lift to the 14th ground and walked all the way down, ” Greene explains. “It was rough but space in Hong Kong is precious and I had no room of my own. I positioned my working desk in the corner of the ground floor bookshop, which was probably the largest in Asian countries at the time. This became the main source for learning about photography. I often took books home to read. ”
After their collaboration finished in 2015, Greene released the second incarnation of Azure Lotus Gallery, this time with a focus on photography. “ Photography came to find me but once I actually embarked on that journey, a new world opened in my experience, ” she says. “I love the directness and availability of photography, within the artwork world it feels like the minimum elitist form of art, which allows communication with a wider audience. ”
As always, Greene maintains the girl focus on Hong Kong culture and identity, working with established photographers which includes Michael Kenna, Wing Shya, and Yasuhiro Orawa, and emerging artists like KC Kwan, Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, and Tugo Cheng. Blue Lotus also represents Fan Ho great estate exclusively worldwide.
“In the last few years, there has been a strong urge for Hk to define its own identity with an attempt to define what makes the city unique. More than ever, individuals care about heritage and contemporary culture, ” says Greene. Every artist she signals to the roster arrives in their own unique way, whether it is through referrals or a monthly photography workshop.
“I hope to expand our scope beyond Hong Kong to other parts of the region, ” says Greene. “We are exhibiting artists from Japan and aim to highlight interesting projects through China, Malaysia, and Singapore. In the West, there is a strong ecosystem of museums, podcasts, galleries and museums, and magazines dedicated to picture taking but many photographers and tasks in Asia are underrepresented. I hope in time to change that even though growing an audience in both hemispheres. ”