As this weekend's Pink Dot approaches, Herbert Smith Freehills has unveiled a unique collaboration with a local LGBT+ artist , which reflects the diversity of the LGBT+ community.
"As long-time supporters and diamond-level sponsors of Hong Kong Pink Dot, we're taking the theme to heart - Expressing Ourselves through an exciting collaboration with local LGBT+ artist Wanwailu," said Matt Clements, Herbert Smith Freehills's Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Asia & Australia.
"Together, we've created a backdrop and t-shirt design that reflects the uniqueness of Hong Kong's LGBT+ community – we hope this becomes a lasting memento of what has become a very special day for Hong Kong."
The collaboration was spearheaded by the firm's IRIS network, which brings LGBT+ people and allies together from across the business to advocate for equality and inclusion within and beyond the firm.
As one of the firm's longest-standing global diversity networks, the network supports sexual orientation and gender identity inclusion and provides a safe and supportive place for colleagues and the firm's clients, wherever they are.
Most recently, the network has supported LGBT+ inclusion by enhancing the firm's trans and non-binary guidelines, dedicating pro bono works to efforts to decriminalise homosexuality, and deepening its partnerships with in-country LGBT+ organisations. The firm has also joined a coalition of businesses to support marriage equality within Hong Kong.
An interview with the artist
Hello – could you tell us more about yourself?
Hello, this is wanwailu. I love flowers, trees, cats, fish and anything in between. I get nervous easily while talking to strangers, so I prefer expressing myself through my drawing. To portray myself as a positive person (awkward smile), I merge my local humour with vibrant colours to form my art.
Instagram is my favourite platform to share my artwork - funny daily moments that hopefully resonate with my audience.
My followers love topics such as my cats (IG: catone.cattwo) and LGBTQ+. This year I am grateful to be featured on a few projects that I really enjoyed and loved, including collaborating with Smallball Shop to launch the "good people are limited (好人有限)" tee and a pop-up event by Smartone Birdie x 128 Wang Lung Cafe x Mak's Beer, which turned a cafe into a pool party.
I've also made music video illustrations for local bands. I've enjoyed working with all these local talents and artists, and I found a lot of self-growth in the process.
What does LGBT+ representation in art mean to you?
Since I was a confused teenager, I've looked up to less publicly known LGBTQ+ artists (as they were then). Their art forms have offered eye-widening perspectives and opened my world to diversity.
Since then, years have passed, and I am now braver (and hopefully wiser) to start using my art as a form of expression. I hope my art positively impacts the group to which I once belonged - queer but quieter and more uncertain.
I have a simple message: you are loved, and you deserve to be heard.
I'm genuinely grateful to be given this opportunity to collaborate with Herbert Smith Freehills. The artwork features a diversity of LGBT+ characters and iconic local sights without focusing on a particular group because we're all part of society. Through the artwork, I've been able to express 100% of who I truly am and how I see this community.
Where can we find you?
You can reach me via Instagram @wanwailu. Leave me messages/comments if what I draw makes you laugh, or get in touch for a collaboration.
About Pink Dot
Pink Dot is a fun, activity-packed, free carnival and outdoor concert organised for the LGBTI+ community, their families, friends, colleagues and allies. Participants are encouraged to wear pink to support diversity, inclusion, love and equality. #PINKDOTHK #PINKDOTHK2022 #EXPRESSYOURSELF
To join, check out https://pinkdothk.com.