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

此訪談為香港藝術史研究 — 第二期的一部分。訪談於2015年7月7日在白禮仁工作室進行。

1939 年生於英國修咸頓。




Hammad Nasar 為亞洲藝術文獻庫研究及項目總監。

Alternative title

Bai Li Ren Fang Tan

Access level



Hammad NASAR

Spoken language


Content type

interview documentation, 

event photograph/recording

Rights statement

In Copyright

What does this mean?

This item is covered by one or more copyrights. It is available for research only or use within Hong Kong’s fair dealing rules. Please do not copy, re-use or reproduce this item without the permission of the copyright holder.

Interview: Robert O'Brien, 白禮仁訪談