Bo Wah Effigies is a humble little store on Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po that specialises in paper offerings for the deceased. These paper crafts are a designated UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hong Kong — and at Bo Wah Effigies, they are given a modern spin.
The shop is currently being run by Au Yeung Ping-chi, who took over the decades-old business from his father after graduation. Ah Chi got the idea to make some trendier paper items to attract more customers. “I made some paper scooters and robotic dogs and hung them out at the front of the shop. That got the media’s attention, and the orders followed.”
“The more time I get to complete an order, the better,” Ah Chi says. “First, I’ll go online and do some research, then I will do a test run, and then I’ll go ahead to make the real thing.” Since many of his works inevitably end up incinerated, Ah Chi makes sure to take a photo to commemorate each item before they are passed on to the customers.
But not all of his pieces share the same fate. Some of Ah Chi’s projects are considered such works of beauty that they have been exhibited in art galleries around the world, including at The Breeder in Athens, Greece. “These paper crafts are art,” Ah Chi affirms.
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