Forget me slowly

Ilit Azoulay and Leung Chi Wo

Inkjet print on Hahnemuehle Fine Art paper (PhotoRag Ultrasmooth 305 g), birchwood frame 1.3 cm face and 5 cm height profile, painted in matte black, 59.4 x 84 cm, 2021

Two singers from different backgrounds meet for a moment on the surface of a table to examine closely one particular day of their lives. Israel and Hong Kong were once connected, in the summer of 1967, for the Six-Day War and the Hong Kong riots, when the leftist Chinese newspaper Tai Kung Po from Hong Kong bashed the United Kingdom in its editorial on June 6, titled “From Middle East to Hong Kong, the British Empire Ends Soon”, represented here in the artwork as a staged manuscript written by Leung.

Zohra Al Fassia was a Jewish-Moroccan singer. In the 1930s and 1940s, she was one of the most famous singers in Morocco and Algeria. She was the first woman in Morocco to record a musical album and received an honorary degree from the King of Morocco and a gold crown which she wore every morning for the rest of her life. In the second half of her life, she immigrated to Israel. The character of Alfasiya, who died in 1994 at the age of 90, has been preserved mainly as a myth – the singer who won the honour of kings in Morocco was ignored entirely when she immigrated to Israel and died anonymously in the city of Ashkelon.

Susanna Chow graduated from the elite Tsing Hua University in Beijing, majoring in sociology, before taking refuge from Communist China in 1950 in Hong Kong, where she began her pursuit of classical music. She furthered her study as a soprano in Italy, rare for Hong Kong back then. Upon returning to Hong Kong shortly after, she embarked on a music career, less as a performing artist but more as a teacher, columnist and music promoter. She remained apolitical even during the outbreak of the Hong Kong riots in 1967 when she had her first overseas concert in Singapore. From the 1990s, she returned to China frequently for teaching and performances until she passed away in 2000.