The Works:Annie Leibovitz’s “Women: New Portraits”, Japanese woodblock printing, Mexican art @HKU &

Photography, and an iconic photographer some of whose images you will almost certainly recognise even if you don’t know her name. She’s Annie Leibovitz. She rocketed to fame shooting rock stars and other celebrities during a decade-long relationship with Rolling Stone magazine. She’s moved on since, usually emphasising portrait photography, often finding her own very distinctive way to capture them. Just two weeks ago, Annie Leibovitz was in Hong Kong to present her touring exhibition, “Women: New Portraits”, a project that’s taken more than 15 years in the making.

Japanese wood block artists like Hokusai, Hiroshige, and Utamaro have had a considerable effect on Western art. Their craft was at its height during the Edo period, and particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries. Their work in the ukiyo-e genre, featured such subjects as kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, courtesans, the supernatural, landscapes, plants, and erotica. Artists influenced by Japanese prints included Degas, Manet, Monet, van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec. Beginning in March a recent series of workshops organised by the Hong Kong Open Print Shop gave lovers of the genre a chance to try woodblock printing, and even paper-making, for themselves.

By and large, the countries of Latin America are those countries where the Spanish or Portuguese languages prevail. Basically that’s those parts of the Americas once colonised by the Spanish or the Portuguese. The cultures of those countries may still dominate, but there’s also a strong Pre-Columbian heritage. That mix of cultures produced visual art in a variety of styles, including Modernism, Muralism, and Surrealism, often highly coloured, sometimes both primitive and spiritual in emphasis. At the University of Hong Kong Museum and Art Gallery you can see an exhibition of one part of that legacy: Mexican art from the 20th century. And, if the horribly rainy weather lets up, you can take a trip outdoors, to the Central Harbourfront, to encounter a series of bronze sculptures by Colombian artist Fernando Botero.
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