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Hi! Flora, Fauna  
Animals Like Us in the City
Artist: Eunice Cheung
Artwork Location: Scattered in the Gardens
 
"The birds and animals in the Gardens are all our neighbours. Looking at them frisking and jumping about in their brilliantly colourful coats, I always have the feeling that they are just like us, inhabitants of the city."
 
Would you say hello to the Bornean Orangutan family if you meet them in a teahouse where you're enjoying dim sum? While sketching at the Gardens, artist Eunice Cheung was captivated by the rare and endangered animals there. She loves to study the behaviour and character of the Gardens' animals. Through in situ observations and conversations with zookeepers, Cheung discovers that the animals have daily routines and living habits similar to humans. For instance, the Siamang loves singing so much it's like their life, the Scarlet Ibis is unhappy without seafood, the Buff-cheeked Gibbon often changes the colour of their fur, and the daddy Emperor Tamarin helps mummy look after the kids. In capturing the energetic and human-like side of these animals with her paintbrush, Cheung hopes to enhance the audience's knowledge about them through this art project.
 
Artist Biography: 
Cheung graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a MFA. Her art is often characterised by the use of Chinese gongbi (fine-brush) painting to capture the beauty of animals and present the state of animals in different cultures, societies, and geography. By giving the subjects of her paintings human-like characteristics, she bridges the chasm between humanity and the seemingly distant natural world. She was selected for the "Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Awards 2009" and attained "Madam Jan Yun-bor Memorial Awards for Chinese Painting and Calligraphy" in 2009. Latest exhibitions include Together We March Forward- New Asia 70th Anniversary Art Exhibition at HART Hall in 2019 and Diamonds in the Field at Bluerider ART, Taipei in 2020.
 
 

Artwork stories:
(Text provided by Eunice Cheung)

Bornean Orangutan
 
Another day of the Gardens' Bornean Orangutan family at yum cha. Papa Vandu arrived in Hong Kong in 2010 where he met mama Raba, born locally. A lovely pair of twins, Wan Wan and Wah Wah, were born the following year. The Gardens supported them in caring and raising the twins, as it was Vandu and Raba's first time as parents. For endangered species like Bornean Orangutan, they usually live on self-constructed treehouses in the rainforests. They love solitude except during mating seasons. They are now endangered due to over deforestation and human activities. Thanks to the Gardens which undergoes valuable conservation breeding programmes as a way to preserve the population.  


Siamang
 
Siamang is a type of endangered gibbons, native to the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia. They are the world's largest gibbons, arboreal and extremely agile. Their second and third toes are conjoined. Females are typically more aggressive than males, and they have large gular sacs (throat pouch), which can be inflated to the size of a bowling ball, allowing them to make loud, resonating sounds that could reach as far as 1 km.  Here in the Gardens, we see the Siamang couple who love to sing at early hours in the mornings, as well as around noon as a way to mark their territories - or simply to keep the family together. 


Scarlet Ibis
 
Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber) is a type of ibis in the Threskiornithidae bird family, typically found in Venezuela, Columbia, Guineas, Brazil and Trinidad. They love to move around wet, muddy areas but to protect themselves from predators, they build their nests high up on trees on islands.  They stand out amongst other species of ibis due to their beautiful scarlet coloration, however they are grey and black at young age. The family of scarlet ibis loves eating fresh shrimps and fishes just like Hongkongers, they are feasting on the fresh seafood sold at a local wet market. Delicious! 
 
 


Buff-cheeked Gibbon
 
Buff-cheeked Gibbon (Hylobates gabriellae) is a type of endangered ape living in Southeast Asia's forests. They usually live as small family units comprising of a monogamous pair and one or two youngsters.  Extremely agile, they travel seamlessly among trees with unparalleled dexterity known as "brachiation".  Babies are born in a pale golden colour irrespective of sex, and their fur would turn black at 12 to 16 months. Males' fur would remain black for the rest of their lives, while females would revert to a pale golden colour at puberty. In the picture we see daddy Gibbon bringing his children to a Shanghai-styled hair salon, where he was trying to have the fur of his teenage girl dyed to black before school starts - as we all know local schools in Hong Kong do not allow their students to have artificial blonde hair! 
 


Emperor Tamarin
 
Emperor Tamarin (Saguinus imperator) are small monkeys native to the Amazonian lowland forest, where they build their shelters in tree hollows, and cohabiting with other tamarins' species. Their meals comprise of nectars, insects, buds, eggs and fruits. It is widely believed that they got their name Emperor from the great German emperor Wilhelm II, as they both share the common moustache feature.  A typical Emperor Tamarin family would comprise of up to 8 to 15 members, including a dominant queen mother, multiple males as fathers, as well as other siblings.  Twins are common, and males would care for the infants and youngsters, carrying them on their backs while mother rest after breastfeeding. In the picture we see a few of these super dads enjoying a pint of beer from their busy parenting lives.


Blue-crowned Pigeon, Maroon-breasted Crowned Pigeon & Victoria Crowned Pigeon
 
Blue-crowned Pigeon, Maroon-breasted Crowned Pigeon, and Victoria Crowned Pigeon are species of crowned pigeons, commonly found in the New Guinea region.   They are the largest pigeon in the entire world. Their meals comprise of mainly fruits, occasionally seeds and invertebrates. They are often considered one of the most beautiful members of the pigeon family, with the males and females resemble remarkably to each other.  Here we see our lady Maroon-breasted Crowned Pigeon, together with lady Victoria Crowned Pigeon, doing their weekend shopping. They look elegantly stunning as usual.  


Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth
 
Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) are a type of solitary, largely nocturnal and arboreal species of sloth, found in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America, and Central Brazil. As typical as other sloths, they are excellent at resting. Thanks to their strong hook-like claws, they hang stably upside down throughout their lives, which include eating, mating, as well as giving birth. Here we see our little Hoffmanni sleep-hanging with his bedsheets and laundry buddies on a fine sunny late afternoon at the local Choi Hung Estate. 


White-faced Saki
 
White-faced Saki (Pithecia pithecia) is another endangered primate living in lowland evergreen forest, also known as the "flying monkeys". They are monogamous. Males have black fur with white facial hair, while females are covered in grey and brown. Such sexual dichromatism is rare in primates. Though they are small as cats, they have long intestines like apes, allowing them to safely digest poisonous insects or fruits. This lovely Saki couple featured here are foodies! They are seen enjoying some scrumptious Mong Kok street food, "2 skewers please!" said lady Saki. Just in 2020, 2 babies were born in the Gardens.  What a joy!


Meerkat
 
Meerkat (Slender-tailed Meerkat) is a type of burrowing mammals, typically found in the dry, open plains in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. They have a rounded head, with feature dark patches around the eyes allowing them to seeing sunlight directly. They are colonial, and as many as 2 to 3 families (up to 30 Meerkats) could live in the same colony. They are also good at working together as a group - while some hunt for food, others would act as sentries against predators. Here we see a group of student Meerkats chilling out after school, while Bobby Meerkat watch out for bullies on top of the monkey bars at Nam Shan Estate. 
 
 


 

 

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