LONDON, 15 FEBRUARY 2017 – Following the success of previous heritage exhibitions in Hong Kong, British Airways Heritage Collection and the Ming-Ai (London) Institute has jointly brought an unprecedented exhibition - “A Tale Of Two Cities – Connecting London & Hong Kong” to London. The exhibition showcases stories about life in Hong Kong and Chinese communities in London over the last 80 years, as well as the development of aviation between the two cities. The exhibition is open to public at the China Exchange for free from today until 26 February 2017. Visitors can enjoy supporting seminars organised alongside the exhibition.
The exhibition is the finale of a series of exhibitions that celebrate British Airways’ 80 years of connecting London and Hong Kong. The exhibition’s most unique feature is its focus on stories about life in Hong Kong as well as about the Chinese communities living in London over the last eight decades. Visitors can listen to, and watch the interview stories on the iPads provided on-site. China Exchange, an exceptional space located in the centre of London’s Chinatown, was specially chosen as the venue to reflect the exclusive theme of the exhibition.
Another highlight of the exhibition are the real-life stories about around 100 female orphans who were sent to the UK via the International Social Service (ISS) UK Hong Kong Adoption Project in the 1960s to 1970s. The project was established in Hong Kong with the aim of placing abandoned refugee children for adoption, providing them a family and alleviating the overcrowded orphanages in Hong Kong. During that period, female orphans between the ages of two and four flew on British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), the predecessor of British Airways, from Hong Kong to London to start a new life with their adopted families. In 2016, the British Airways Heritage Collection contacted some of these adopted ladies and helped them trace the memory of their life-changing journeys to the UK in the 1960s. Their stories have been previously reported by the media in the UK in 2001 and were also featured on a TV programme in Hong Kong in 2000.
In addition to the above, the precious historical artefacts on display include large aircraft models, vintage uniforms and inflight menus used on routes from decades ago, showing the public the profound impact of air travel on the cultural and economic exchange between the people who call Hong Kong or the UK, or both, “home.” The exhibition will also demonstrate the development of aviation technology, air navigation systems, expansion of routes and improvements in passenger experiences.
Over the exhibition period, four supporting seminars will be hosted at the China Exchange by celebrated speakers in their fields. Julia Feast OBE, Independent Consultant specialising in the lifelong issues of adoption, care and donor conception, will kick start the seminars with the first one titled “Adversity, Adoption and Afterwards: A Mid-life Follow Up Study of Women Adopted from Hong Kong” on 16 February from 13:00 to 15:00.
Richard Tams, British Airways’ executive vice president for China, said, “We are truly excited to present this exhibition in London as many of the Chinese and Hong Kongers in London are also our loyal customers. I believe the exhibition will bring back a lot of fond memories for our customers travelling between the two cities.
“Thanks to the archives and expertise at the British Airways Heritage Collection, we are able to share the precious stories from the ladies who were adopted by British families during the 1960s. Our charity initiatives did not stop there. Care for Children, British Airways’ latest charity partner in China, will also be featured in the exhibition to showcase the ways British Airways helps improve the lives of children today.
“We are extremely honoured to be able to work with the Ming-Ai (London) Institute for the three exhibitions in Hong Kong and London, none of which would have happened without their exceptional curatorship. We are also very grateful for the generous support from the British Chinese Heritage Centre, Ching-Britain Business Council, Care for Children and China Exchange, London, who helped make this exhibition a successful one.” Tams added.
Chungwen Li, dean at Ming-Ai (London) Institute’s dean, "It is an absolute pleasure for us to be part of this exhibition. Our aim is to collect, to preserve and to share cultural heritage stories like these with the general public. It is wonderful to see some of the precious artefacts and we hope all the visitors will enjoy the exhibition as much as I do.”
The “A Tale Of Two Cities – Connecting London & Hong Kong” exhibition is open to public for free from today until 26 February 2017, at China Exchange, 32A Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JA, from 11:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Sunday. The four thematic talks will be held at the exhibition venue on 16, 18 and 21 February 2017
16 Feb, 1-2 pm
Adversity, Adoption and Afterwards: a mid-life follow up study of women adopted from Hong Kong
Julia Feast OBE
16 Feb, 3:30 - 5 pm
Mapping the Airways
Paul Jarvis, Curator, British Airways Heritage Collection
18 Feb, 4-5 pm
Brief Introduction to the Chinese Diasporic Workforce in the UK
Chungwen Li, Dean, Ming-Ai (London) Institute
21 Feb, 3:30 - 5 pm
Are You Ready for China?
Avi Nagel, China Business Adviser, China-Britain Business Council