Lamma Mia - Oral Histories of Lamma Islanders

About the project

Tourists visiting Lamma Island may have all sorts of imaginations and expectations about the southern part of the island, be it the colour of the sky and the sea, the serene mountain trail, the grotesque rocks, or the delicious seafood. However, these are just superficial observations. To explore a place deeply, we should learn more about its ‘memoryscape’ by listening to how the people living there remember the place. From their narratives, we, as tourists, will learn more concretely the human aspect of the island.

Project website:

1. Islander research & article writing

From February to August 2021, we interviewed quite a few residents of South Lamma. Among these male and female islanders of different ages, there are indigenous and non-indigenous residents, as well as people from rural villages. Some live in the ‘downtown’ of South Lamma, Sok Kwu Wan, while others reside in the outskirts. These islanders from different backgrounds shared their memories of this place, personal and family anecdotes, and the changes in the way of living and community landscape. Based on their stories and other references, we share our observations of the community landscape and the livelihoods on the island in this book. 

I visualised these memories in her illustrations "The Everyday Life in Sok Kwu Wan and Fishing" on Stationery Lift Net. In this booklet, titled South Lamma: Oral Histories of 12 Islanders, there are 12 personal accounts about the island. 

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2. Booklet illustration

Through their unique experiences, readers will see how diverse lifestyles coexist peacefully in the same living space — the genuine meaning of what a ‘community’ should be. The portrait of each narrator drawn by Teresa allows readers to imagine more vividly the personalities of these islanders.

3. Field Trip Video production

【Purse Seining Fishing Method】

One evening before the Mid-Autumn Festival, Teresa Chan and Wong Wai Ling from our research team went for a fishing trip with fishermen Cheng For Tai and Michael Kwok to learn about the fishing method of purse seining. The process has been filmed and edited into this short clip.


4. Sharing

【"On Lamma" Research Team sharing】

What kind of conditions nurture the sense of community in South Lamma? In what way can urban dwellers relate themselves with the islanders’ ways of living? 

Our Research Team has mapped out the cultural landscape of South Lamma and documented the local knowledge through field studies and oral history interviews from the perspective of the island itself. Their findings have provided a solid foundation and source of inspiration for the participating artists. 

In the “On Lamma” sharing session on 2 January, researcher in Hong Kong studies Dr Wong Wai-ling, the project’s co-curator and researcher Dr Leung Po-shan, and researcher-illustrator Teresa Chan shared their fruitful experience and interesting anecdotes during their research on the island. We also chanced upon a descendant of fisherman who found herself deeply resonated with the content of the sharing session. She was even emboldened to reconnect with her hometown. 

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Copyright © Teresa Chan Tsz Lam - Artist Portfolio