Hong Kong Dreams

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Bush rats, back alleys, butchers & the in-between.

I fled to Hong Kong from islands in the South Pacific. For months in the jungle I had battled black magic and ghosts, bush rats and darkness; in Hong Kong, the concrete and hustle of the city brought me back to life. I would spend four weeks in a tiny apartment in Central, roaming the streets with a Vietnam-era Nikon. Each time, the shutter banged with a loud ka-chunk. The city was at once gritty, raw, beautiful, promising; at times it was dreamy and apocalyptic, a Marker-esque utopia. I was the penultimate outsider peering into a world I could never understand, and one that might likely never understand me. Those weeks carried me back to New York after more than six years away. It was the perfect bridge between the unreal and the real, a strange way station for a wandering soul to heal. —Hugh Wilson

Hugh Wilson explores themes such as migration, race, identity and intimacy through painted portraits. He has traveled extensively on several continents and often lives in the communities in which he paints. He has documented nomads in the Sahara, coal miners in West Virginia, migrant workers in California and Haitian laborers in the Dominican Republic, among others. His work has been exhibited in the US, France and the Dominican Republic and will be featured in the upcoming book Across Borders. (All photos © Hugh Wilson)

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