Inside Out: Harbour and the City

In Hong Kong, over 450 participants of all ages and genders, including celebrities, artists and athletes, shared their beaming faces to celebrate the end of the mask mandate and the city's return to normalcy. 

The Inside Out Team
APRIL, 29TH 2023

As the mask mandate in Hong Kong was lifted in March, the public and especially children who grew up during the pandemic, were invited to record the joyous “un-masking” moment by displaying their smiling portraits at the renowned urban landmark and largest shopping center in the city. The response was overwhelming, with over 450 participants sharing their beaming faces, making it the largest Inside Out Group Action in Hong Kong to date.

Pedestrians crossing the street across one of the Action installations located on Canton Road.

Following JR’s installation, "GIANTS: Rising Up," the “Inside Out: Harbour and the City” Group Action will remain on view through May 7th at Harbour City in Hong Kong.

People of all ages and genders participated in this Group Action along with numerous celebrities, artists, and athletes who aimed to spread happiness and positive energy through their own smiles. Participants included Hong Kong's female high jump record holder Cecilia Yeung, Hong Kong Para-badminton representative Calista Lam, Hong Kong gymnastics representative Charlie Chan, freestyle rope skipping athlete Pak-hung Cheung, Hong Kong footballer Kumer So and Hong Kong long-distance runner Virginia Lo.

Young participant posing next to her portrait at Ocean Terminal.

During the shoot, participant Cecilia Yeung expressed:“The lifting of the mask mandate brought a sense of relief and joy to many, including myself. For as long as I can remember, I have never enjoyed wearing masks, so being able to finally see everyone's smiles again was truly heartwarming. Taking off the mask also symbolizes that we have overcome the most challenging period and can now share in laughter and joy together."

Passerbyers admiring the portraits installed at Harbour City.

Renowned Hong Kong portrait photographer Karen Tang captured the most natural and touching smiles of the participants.

“I was honored to be the photographer for the 'Inside Out: Harbour and the City' project, as I believe it is a meaningful activity that captures the essence of everyone's smiles after the pandemic. As a portrait photographer, I am fascinated by how every subtle movement and expression can convey a unique story. Over the past three years, our eyes have been the only means to express emotions. Seeing everyone's smiles beneath their masks today evokes a sense of both familiarity and strangeness, reinforcing my appreciation for the freedom to laugh and converse with others without inhibition. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with participating artists. Their energy and enthusiasm were contagious, and I often found myself laughing behind the camera. Perhaps I was the happiest person involved in the entire project.”

Behind the Scenes image of a participant gettinig her portrait taken at the special photoshoot station in Harbour City.

"Our bright smiles have been hidden behind face masks for too long." This Group Action aimed to spread happiness all around by showing Hong Kong people’s beaming faces after three years of pandemic, especially the adorable giggles from toddlers and pre-schoolers who have grown up masked. Toughout the month of March, participants were invited to submit their portraits or stop by the shopping center to have their portrait taken at a special photoshoot station..

Young participants posing with their portraits.

The amazing support from the community allowed the public to share their best smiles, long-hidden behind masks, and bring happiness to the world together. Tourists and visitors from all over the world will feel the warmth of a welcoming atmosphere, surrounded by a sea of friendly smiles from Hong Kong.

Installation image of portraits on display at Ocean Terminal.

Make sure not to miss it!
Date: From April 24th to May 7th 2023
Location: Ocean Terminal Forecourt, the exterior wall of Ocean Centre and Gateway Arcade entrances, both on Canton Road

See more from this Action here.