Kowloon Walled City was a 2.6-hectare ungoverned area in Hong Kong. It remained as the world’s most densely populated place until it was announced to be demolished in 1987. An estimated 33,000 people resided within the Walled City, with each resident owning only around 1.27m² of space. The City was a giant, 12-storey structure that housed all the residents, with settlements built on top of each other.
Outsiders believed that the City was extremely dangerous, parents warned their children that they will easily get killed if entered. Yet, in contrary, most residents of the Walled City behaved similarly to other Hong Kong natives. In response to the difficult living conditions, the residents formed a tightly knit community, helping one another endure various hardships. As writer Peter Popham has commented, it was a place where ‘tens of thousands of people crammed in a tiny space, each with one idea in mind: survival’.
The Kowloon Walled City was no doubt a place of contradictions, but there was essentially something very ‘Hong Kong’ about it. Inspired by Greg Girard and Ian Lambot’s book, City of Darkness, this set of illustrations tells the stories of the life of people in the Kowloon Walled City– the strangeness, the beauty, the struggle and the harmony.