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Magic Number

Most of us would just go out and buy a picture to fill a blank wall. But not when you're notable art lover Adrian Cheng Chi-kong.

The founder of K11 art mall, who is passionate about nurturing local talents, selected works from 11 students to put on permanent display in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the shopping complex in Tsim Sha Tsui.

"Over the five years since its inception, K11 has successfully promoted art and design within society," Cheng said. "In our collaboration with the 11 students from local schools, we are displaying their artworks at K11 as part of the Encounters 11-Local Students' Public Art Project. "The exhibition will enable the public to appreciate art and culture expressed in different forms and to show their support for young artists."

Chosen from nearly 30 submissions from four art colleges, all the works focus on human, art and nature themes.

Ringo Cheung Chi-pang from the Hong Kong Art School, who usually creates melancholic works with themes of human desires and suppressions, chose a more cheerful subject this time. He paired 10 animals with the portraits of 10 people, intending to show that everyone is unique in terms of appearance, character and habits. "The blank space in the middle is the 11th portrait. It's meant for an audience to stand in front of it, become a part of my art and take a photo with it," he explained.

Schoolmate Pat Chong Kwan-ting, meanwhile, decided to feature her fairytale-like brushstrokes on a wall that's next to the washrooms. "I like the location because of how the marble wall looks. There's also a nursery room next to it," said the student who teaches art to small children part-time. The color pink and animal characters take over the three-by-seven- meter large mural, creating a different ambience in the alleyway. "This is a suitable place for my art and resonates with why I drew it. The color really warms up the space."

Florence Li Ka-man, also studying at the same institution, spent a week filling the resting area under an escalator with a riot of botanical motifs. Inspired by 16th-century wood engravings, she used Chinese ink and acrylic to recreate part of her Utopia. "My normal work routine is that I lock myself up in a room, paint, and display the piece at an exhibition. But this time round, passers-by would give me feedback while I was painting," she said. "I also asked for their opinions when I felt stuck. This is a very new experience for me. I feel more inspired when I let others be a part of my creative process."

The artworks are scattered inside the shopping mall. Visitors can either try to hunt down each piece by themselves, or join a free guided tour that will show the way. There are English tours daily. Registration can be made at the customer service counter.