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“I’ve lived in Norway all my life, and in Oslo since I was 2, although I spend a lot of time in Hong Kong. My grandfather was one of the first Chinese men to come to Norway, when he was just 11. He worked with shipping from China to Norway. In fact, many of the chefs in Oslo’s older Chinese restaurants actually worked on my grandfather’s ships.
Oslo has changed greatly since then. Immigration has brought a lot of new cultures into the city. I experienced a lot of racism in my younger years, but now not so much. I work as a visual designer in Oslo but also spend a great deal of time working in Hong Kong. I held my first solo exhibition ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ here in 2015. It featured 15 landmarks from Bergen, Oslo and Trondheim, designed to remind people that even during our hectic workdays, we must make time to stop, take a breath, and appreciate our surroundings, because tomorrow it could be gone. I featured both modern architecture like Oslo’s Opera House and the more historical such as the Royal Palace, because both have important stories to tell.
As a visual designer I am forever contrasting Oslo’s physical appearance to our Scandinavian neighbors Stockholm and Copenhagen. Despite all the great work to regenerate Oslo’s waterfront, I think the area feels like continental Europe and lacks a Norwegian influence. The city still lacks a symbol of international recognition. Although our city continues to expand, we still value and enjoy our outdoor lifestyle. We have a Norwegian word for it, “friluftsliv”, which is hard to translate but perfectly captures our love for being out in the natural world. No matter how big Oslo grows, I don’t think the lure of hiking and skiing will ever leave us.”