張義 CHEUNG YEE (1936-2019)

Cheung Yee was a sculptor born in Guangdong and is hailed as a pioneer and explorer of contemporary art in 20th-century Hong Kong. He is famous for combining traditional Chinese elements and carving techniques with modern Western technology and various media in his creations. Due to the influence of Chinese traditional culture, many of his works contain ancient characters and symbols, such as oracle bone script, turtle shells, hexagrams, birds, four spirits, reproductive organs, etc., and give them a modern interpretation. Cheung Yee also loved to paint birds and flowers in the meticulous style, and in terms of seal carving, he not only drew inspiration from ancient inscriptions but also studied oracle bone script diligently, which contributed to his preference for turtle shell shapes in his later works.


Cheung Yee graduated from the National Taiwan Normal University's Art Department, majoring in Chinese painting and seal carving in 1958. In 1964, he founded the "Zhong Yuan Painting Society" with a group of like-minded Hong Kong artists and actively promoted modern art in Hong Kong. In the same year, he completed his first bronze mural work at the invitation of the Hilton Hotel in Hong Kong. In 1965, he was awarded a scholarship by the New York International Education Academy to study in Europe and the United States. In 1987, he founded the Hong Kong Artists' Union and was one of its founding members. In 1979, he was awarded the MBE medal, which was a great honor for a Chinese artist in Hong Kong's art and cultural circles. The medal was presented by the then Governor Sir Murray MacLehose on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, which was a topic of conversation at the time. 


He taught at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design (1978-1983) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Department of Art (1983-1998). His sculptures and paintings are unique in style and are known for their breakthrough in three-dimensional Eastern symbols, gaining international acclaim. In his later years, he was active in exhibitions between Taiwan and Hong Kong, especially in the development of Hong Kong's art history. His works are collected by public institutions such as the Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Hong Kong Cultural Museum.

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