Forty years after his death, a new exhibition in Hong Kong is being launched to celebrate the life and achievements of its most famous son, Bruce Lee.
The kung fu legend, poet, a cha cha champion, and record-breaking filmmaker was born in San Francisco and spent his childhood in what is now the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
Lee died on 20 July, 1973, from a cerebral oedema, a fatal build up of fluid on the brain. He was just 32 and the father of two young children with his wife Linda Lee Cadwell.
“Bruce Lee: Kung Fu. Art. Life” opens on July 20 at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and will feature more than 600 Lee-related items, including more than 400 from the Bruce Lee Foundation – the largest number of artefacts the foundation has ever lent out – in a multimedia exhibition.
It will celebrate Bruce Lee as “the pride of Hong Kong”.
“The legend of Bruce Lee’s life is intertwined with his confidence and charisma as well as a personal background that married East and West,” the Hong Kong Heritage Museum says. “Bruce Lee passed away 40 years ago, but his spirit lives on. In collaboration with the Bruce Lee Foundation of the U.S., the Hong Kong Heritage Museum has gathered together more than 600 invaluable items of Bruce Lee memorabilia from local and overseas collectors to create an exhibition that looks at Bruce Lee not only as a film star and martial artist, but also as a cultural phenomenon from a more comprehensive, in-depth and independent perspective. Visitors will be able to gain a greater insight into his achievements and contributions as well as his significance in popular culture, as the exhibition takes a new angle in presenting the legend of Bruce Lee.”
Among the items on show are his iconic yellow onesie, footage from Lee’s eight classic films including “The Big Boss,” “Fist of Fury,” “The Way of the Dragon,” “Enter the Dragon” and “Game of Death”, the first American magazine cover featuring Lee and the notebook he kept featuring 108 different cha cha dance steps.
Lee, who founded his own martial arts system, Jeet Kune Do, won Hong Kong’s Cha Cha Championship in 1958.
The exhibition will recreate scenes from his movies, his gym and his study, and will also house a special collector series showcasing various items from around the world.
The first collection will feature almost 100 items relating to the TV series “The Green Hornet” from U.S. collector Perry Lee.
The Hong Kong filmmakers association has also created a 75 minute documentary on Bruce Lee’s life to be shown at the exhibition, titled “The Brilliant Life of Bruce Lee,” which will be screened in the museum.
Silver Cheung, a local film art director, will be the art director for the exhibition, while artist Chu Tat-shing has created a 3.5-metre karate kicking sculpture especially for the show and visual animator artist Shannon Ma will show offer her hologram display of Lee in full flow with his nunchaku.
The organisers are planning to employ new innovative and interactive media including a dedicated website, various Smartphone apps and social media to promote the exhibition.
A Facebook fan page entitled “Visit HK Museum” will be set up and will include guided day tour video, public engagement campaign, quotes, interviews, promotional videos and exhibition materials.
The exhibition will run alongside other Bruce Lee programmes organised by the museum, the first of which has the theme “The Bruce Lee that Hong Kong knew”.
Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee will start the programme with a gallery talk.
“To tie in with the five-year exhibition, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum will organise a series of education and extension programmes with different themes and to be carried out in phases,” said Mrs Betty Fung from Hong Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department, announcing the exhibition.
This year is also the 40th anniversary of Bruce Lee’s most famous film, Enter The Dragon, released months after his death, bringing him international, albeit posthumous, acclaim.
Image: © Getty
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