Hong Kong Baptist University recently purchased one of the world’s finest collections of vintage Hong Kong travel posters. The collection, which includes approximately one hundred posters dating from 1930-1980, is significant in many ways. These pictures of persuasion “offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand”. The posters provide a glimpse into evolving mid-century commercial art and the visual languages of Western modernism. Perhaps more importantly, however, they offer a valuable historical and social perspective on Hong Kong’s self-conception and its image in the West during the city’s late colonial period. The posters touch on many important historical themes, including a defence of colonialism, Hong Kong’s local and overseas identities and the ways people shared a now-lost urban environment. Hong Kong’s colonial travel posters belong to the collective memory of Hongkongers and the city’s rich cultural heritage.
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