Wenrui Li is a postgraduate student studying Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology at the University of Oxford, interested in material culture, visual anthropology, photojournalism, urban spaces and heritage studies.
“In December 2018, I visited Sham Shui Po with a local guide. This district is said to be one of the poorest regions in Hong Kong. Compared with the classical fancy image of Hong Kong printed on postcards, this area tells a different story of the city. There is a kind of residential housing called sub-divided flats, where one flat is divided into many parts and rented out respectively. The average living space size is 5.4 m² per person. Facilities and hygiene conditions are poor; still, many people have no choice but to live here. There are many anthropological issues worth discussion in this area: housing problems, racial issues, poverty and collective efforts to live in a small place together. I went into the building and documented the inside and roof of one of those buildings. Outside the buildings are busy street markets.
Illustrations here are my hybrid fieldnotes consisting of sketches, photos, texts and mind maps. At first, I used sketching as a method to map out possible questions that could be explored here and marked them in colours. Then I tried to build connections between the written fieldnotes and the photos I took, and used photo collages and mind maps to present them in a creative way.”