A visual representation of "City" by Louise Ho
Shek Lei Catholic Secondary School
I have chosen Louise Ho’s “City”, a poem which explores the life of street-sleepers in Hong Kong.
After I read this poem, I felt sorry for street-sleepers and it is horrible to imagine having people
living such a miserable life in a developed city like Hong Kong.
People usually ignore the rights of the homeless in Hong Kong.
The painting presents the shadow of a wanderer who remains unknown and has no face. This shows how street sleepers are ignored by society. In this shadow we can see a busy city at night, with vehicles moving on the road and people waiting for traffic lights. However, the wanderers are ignored in this scene. The painting as a whole questions whether there is a place called home for them anywhere in Hong Kong. The focus of the background is the question ──‘Where is home?’
I have left a lot of white space in my painting because I want the audience to focus on this problem in Hong Kong. As in Chinese painting, a lot of white space is used to bring out the subject. I have also used a lot of dark blue in this painting because I want to convey a sense of sadness and weave the despair and sorrow of the homeless into the deep blue.
No fingers claw at the bronze gauze
Of a Hong Kong December dusk,
Only a maze of criss-crossing feet
That enmeshes the city
In a merciless grid.
Between many lanes
Of traffic, the street-sleeper
Carves out his island home.
Or under the thundering fly-over,
Another makes his own peace of mind.
Under the staircase,
By the public lavatory,
A man entirely unto himself
Lifts his hand
And opens his palm.
Do not rend the air,
They merely touch
As pain does, effortlessly.
“City” was published in Incense Tree: Collected Poems of Louise Ho by Louise Ho, p.45. Copyrights © 2009 by Hong Kong University Press.