A finalist for the 2022 Sovereign Asian Art Prize, Chan Wai Lap is making waves as an up-and-coming artist in the Hong Kong industry. Lifestyle Asia talks to Chan about his swimming pool series and his greater aspirations for his work.

I meet Chan Wai Lap the day before Art Central’s opening, while he is in the midst of setting up his booth. 

Honestly, I feel a little guilty. As if he isn’t already busy enough, he has to find time to entertain me too. With less than 24 hours until the big opening, I would be plenty worried if I were in his shoes. 

Chan, though, shows no signs of distress. In fact, he is all smiles when we meet. His sunny disposition is contagious and all at once, I feel myself relaxing in his presence. 

If you’re even just slightly familiar with the Hong Kong art scene, or if you attended Art Central last year, you’ll have heard of Chan. With nearly 10 years of experience under his belt — his first exhibition was with Osage Gallery back in 2013 — the Hong Kong-born and raised artist made headlines at Art Central 2021 for his locker room installation, “The Lonesome Changing Room”. Aside from his one-off, bewildering installation, he is known for his works documenting public swimming pools and addressing the school system in Hong Kong. 

“Growing up, I never really thought I would become an artist,” says Chan. “I studied design in school and went down that path because it seemed like I could earn a living. But just three months into my first full-time job as a graphic designer, I couldn’t take it. I decided to quit and give myself some time to find creative freedom as an artist.”