Photography & art / March 2016 (Issue 31)

Construction Site

by Jia Dong

 "Construction Site"
Material: Watercolor on paper
Painted in February 2015

I've been living in Hong Kong for three years and have encountered many eye-catching scenes in this metropolitan city. This is a moment I came across on the overpass in Wanchai. I was following the crowd across the pedestrian bridge, and I suppose each of us was engrossed in our own thoughts and concerns. Near the bridge, there were buildings under renovation, and they were surrounded by the bamboo scaffolding and blue nets frequently used in Hong Kong as a safety measure on construction sites.
On the tip of one of the poles, there was a bird. I imagine it was a magpie, based on the pattern on its belly, although magpies might only live in more northerly climates. It perched there, not very high above the moving crowds—which surprised me as I thought birds tend to be afraid of large groups of people. Was it confused? Or was it calm and comfortable on its bamboo perch, even though the pole was being used for industrial purposes? Perhaps it was more comfortable there than on a cement block or brick.
I have no way of understanding a bird. But this moment left a vivid impression in my mind. I passed under it, slowed down a little and watched it in amazement and curiosity. Then I diverted my eyes, descended the escalator at the MTR and left.
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