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The Watercolour Story: Hong Kong by brush stroke

The oldest fishing community in Hong Kong, Aberdeen Harbour is an interesting place from which to observe the past and the present in the gentle swell of the water. The boats seem to float on a sea of red and gold

In 2010, Swaroop Mukerji was invited by the Hong Kong Tourism Board to work on a series of paintings on the city. He has previously done extensive work on Western cities like London and Washington; this was his initiation into a major commercial and cultural centre from the East. See more of his work at

“I have always been inspired by old architecture and monuments. In Hong Kong, I found beautiful edifices juxtaposed with nature’s bounty – vast expanses of sea, sky and mountains. What struck me most about this wonderful and vibrant metropolis was its landscape; the manner in which the green hills looked over the concrete city, how the skyscrapers blended with the sky, and how the edges of the city tended to merge with the sea. Colourful boats of different sizes and shapes were like dancing girls on an endlessly heaving stage. I wanted to capture this magical drama, and, in my opinion, water is best expressed in watercolour. Working with watercolours leaves no room for error, which is a challenge by itself, and its delicacy as a medium is unparalleled.

“As I sat painting by the harbour, I had wonderful interactions with curious onlookers. They apologised for intruding, but, as a street artist, I enjoy this type of participation and feel it adds an intangible value to my work. In the three weeks I spent in this charming city, I never once felt like a stranger.”

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The sea surrounding Hong Kong is fascinatingly busy with boats and ships of different shapes and sizes. You could lose all sense of time as you stare out over the water
Erected when Hong Kong was still under British administration, the clock tower stands 144 metres tall at the old Canton terminus. For me, it is a reminder of the many people who came into the harbour to start new lives, and of how far the city has grown over time