This interview is part of Hong Kong Art History Research Project – Phase II, a collaboration between Asia Art Archive and Hong Kong Museum of Art. It was conducted at Robert O'Brien's studio on 7 July 2015.
Robert O'Brien (b. 1939, Southampton, UK)
After training in theatre design, Robert O'Brien worked as a full time artist in London and Munich from 1964–75 before moving to Hong Kong in 1976 and choosing to reside on the outlying island of Cheung Chau. Until the 1980s he taught at various institutions in Hong Kong, including the Department of Extra Mural Studies at the University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and the Academy of Performing Arts.
In this interview, O'Brien discusses his experience of developing an independent practice on Cheung Chau Island, and of teaching at the Department of Extra Mural Studies at the University of Hong Kong. He provides an account of key exhibitions during the 1980s–1990s and discusses the role of the British Council in Hong Kong’s art ecology. He also talks about the self-organisation of artists and artist groups in the ecology, including Artist Commune. Another topic is his views on the relative (and changing) position of non-Chinese minorities in Hong Kong.
O'Brien lives in Hong Kong.
Hammad Nasar is the Head of Research and Programmes at Asia Art Archive
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