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Teenage Photographer Takes A Shot At Pollution

Dan Kadison – SCMP – Updated on Sep 05, 2008

A 16-year-old photographer plans to focus attention on Hong Kong’s pollution problem by displaying his work at a Central art gallery.

On September 17, Sam Inglis, a student at Sha Tin College, will unveil nearly 20 of his photos in The Economist Gallery at the Fringe Club.

The teenager’s solo exhibition will be called Suffocation – and his Photoshopped images, some dark, some surreal, some optimistic, are meant to persuade and motivate.

“I wanted to create a number of art pieces based on the pollution – trying to get a message across, through the art, that the pollution of Hong Kong has got to a critical level,” Sam said.

His concern and his efforts have earned him a nomination as an Earth Champion.

The nomination is part of the Hong Kong Earth Champions Quest, a search for people and organisations who are trying to sustain and improve the city’s environment.

The efforts of Sam – who also volunteers at Kadoorie Farm in the New Territories and is building a roof garden at his school with other students – is just one example of how a person or a group can rally and enhance the community.

“It is exciting to see young people stepping up and taking action,” said Fiona Mathews, chief executive of the Earth Champions Foundation.

“With young role models like Sam showing other young people that they can make a difference, we want to invite all young people to let us know what they might be doing to improve where they live or what they are doing at school, or university.”

Sam was born in Hong Kong and had asthma as a child. He says the city’s pollution was to blame.

“There are loads of people trying to stop it – but I just thought it would be good if somebody from the artistic world started to push artwork in that area,” said Sam, whose work has been applauded by local environmental advocacy group Clear The Air.

“I don’t want to be too provocative, but I’m just trying to say that there is a problem and we need to do something about it.”

The teenager has been inspired by the work of his parents.

His father, Peter Inglis, is a professional photographer. His mother, Lindsey McAlister, is the director of the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation.

“Sam is passionate about the arts and the environment and creating an exhibition which actually raises awareness about the state of the environment in Hong Kong,” Ms McAlister said. “I’ve been proud of him for wanting to make a difference.”

Nomination forms are available at The South China Morning Post is media sponsor of the initiative.

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