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'King of Kowloon - 九龍皇帝' - Mixed Media on Canvas, 200cm (H) X 100cm (W)


Tsang Tsou Choi (Chinese: 曾灶財), or the "King of Kowloon" (Chinese: 九龍皇帝) (12 November 1921 – 15 July 2007) was a Hong Kong citizen known for his calligraphy graffiti.

 

Although his graffiti was repeatedly painted over, he often returned to re-apply his messages as soon as the paint dried. At the height of his graffiti career, his obsessive marking of territory made his graffiti an ever-present aspect of the streets of Hong Kong. The graffiti has been spotted at many places on the streets of Hong Kong, ranging from lampposts, utility boxes, pillars, pavements, street furniture, and building walls, to an occasional car. The contents of his calligraphic graffiti usually include his name, his title (Emperor or King of Kowloon, Hong Kong, or China), his family tree (a variable list of about 20 individuals), the names of illustrious emperors, and the exclamation, "Down with the Queen of England!"His complaints about the supposed misappropriation of his land were not always so formulaic, however. He occasionally demanded that the government pay him land taxes.

 

A Hong Kong magazine named him one of the city's ten least influential people. However, this supposed lack of influence does not extend to the art world. His typography has inspired many fashion designers, art directors, interior decorators, and CD cover artists. His style has also informed the work of traditional artists, such as Oscar Ho. 

 

One of Tsang's public art works at Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier

During his last years, he lived in a retirement home, and no longer wrote on walls. However, his poor health did not entirely halt his calligraphic efforts. He continued his work on paper, household linens, and other mundane items. He also told visitors that he should have been elected chief executive of Hong Kong, instead of Donald Tsang, that "impostor".

 

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YOPE - 'KING OF KOWLOON - 九龍皇帝'

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