Oil Street to Cattle Depot (從油街到牛棚)

In 1998, the lease of the vacant buildings of the Government Supplies Department facilitated a short period of prosperity for the Oil Street Artist Village, which later became an influential cultural space in Hong Kong. The autonomy of the Oil Street Artist Village fostered a favourable environment for artists to create an interactive place where public exhibitions could thrive. As the expiration of the lease slowly approached, Oil Street artists strived to extend the lease term and formed the SOS (Save Oil Street) campaign. However, the authorities still maintained their original decision, evicted the artists, and relocated the artist village to the slaughterhouse in Ma Tau Wai, now known as the Cattle Depot Artist Village. The short-lived Oil Street Artist Village became not only a utopia for the artists but also a collective memory imprinted in the public mind. The timeline of the formation, eviction, and transformation of the artist village in Hong Kong incorporates not only the resettlement and movement of artists but also the regional variations in political policies and urban land use. As such, by investigating the turbulent state of the artist villages, the instability of land policy, and the voices of various parties at that time, this project aims to establish a comprehensive tableau of the first Hong Kong artist village.