HAPPY BIRTHDAY 31
When was the last time you drew someone a birthday card? While creating a card may take time and effort, artist Hikoko believes that positive energy and thoughtfulness will make the card go a long way.
Hikoko first started drawing birthday cards for her parents as a child, and she has never forgotten the joy it brought, inspiring her to collect and share handdrawn birthday cards from all over the world. In “Happy Birthday 31”, Hikoko invites people to draw a birthday card for a neighbour to spread love and kindness. Then 31 birthday cards, one for each day of the month, and each with its own unique design, are placed in 31 Happy Mailboxes for random visitors to take. The Happy Mailboxes bear original Happiness Art Motifs drawn by Hikoko and her late father, inspired by the Chinese character “乐” (happiness).
In this exhibition, viewers are invited to identify the Happiness Art Motif corresponding to their date of birth, look for the Happy Mailbox bearing that motif, and take out the birthday card. They are asked to take good care of the gift, and to make their version of the birthday card for future visitors. By doing this, Hikoko hopes to remind people of the joy in little things and life’s small moments, as her experiential initiative sets an example of paying it forward in the community.
Hikoko Ito (Chan) is an award-winning Hong Kong architect. Inspired by her late father, Sun Chan, an artist celebrated for his original Chinese characters, Hikoko started integrating his symbols into her own to create decorative patterns and murals in her public art. Intrigued by the intersections between form, space and the Chinese script, Hikoko took her father’s legacy to a new level, and produced 3D works, such as “The Palimpest” for the Venice Biennale of Architecture (HK Pavilion), and “Peace in Four Seasons” for the Xian Artscape Public Art Exhibition in 2018. Hikoko’s work ranges from prints, artefacts, and furniture to large-scale installations and stamp designs that push the boundaries of Chinese character art.