Dewi Lewis, 2019
Hardback, 25 x 19 cm
244 pages, 112 images
English and Chinese text
Available upon request (waiting time: 7 days)
‘The world is always changing. We have to look inside ourselves to find what stays the same, such as loyalty, our shared history and love for each other. In them, the truth of the past lives on’.
Kurt Tong was born in the city of Hong Kong, still formally a British colony, in 1977, with the awareness of the possibility of a transfer to England for study or work. The inhabitants of Hong Kong, at the time, had a cultural identity very distant from that of the Chinese. As a matter of fact, they all sang “God Save Our Queen” as a national anthem at school.
For two years, under the pretext of building a family diary for his daughters, the young Kurt Tong retraces the history of his family, divided between Hong Kong, England and China, in an attempt to discover how the influential personalities of these countries have changed the fate of a family tree that, as for all of us, seems immutable and subject to fate.
The Queen, The Chairman and I, with its nineteen chapters, goes beyond the boundaries of family photography, becoming a pillar of deep solidarity that runs through generations. Tong is a storyteller who, scene after scene, exposes all the stages of what we might call the struggle for survival and consolidation of family fortune, involving social positions and destinies.
It is more than an attempt to wrest a genealogy from inevitable oblivion, there is no symbolism here. The Queen, The Chairman and I is the most human and shared portrait of a family to which, among opium, commerce and marriage alliances, we become a little more attached to each page.