Award Citation

As a stage director, dramatist and performance artist, Mr. Danny Yung (Rong Nianzeng) has created more than 100 experimental theatrical works, and also has dedicated himself to the areas of international exchange, cultural policies and art education. He has contributed greatly to the development of Asian arts and culture through his diverse projects, which have created connections between people across time and space, between Asia and the rest of the world, and between traditional culture and modern art.

Mr. Danny Yung was born in Shanghai in 1943, and relocated to Hong Kong with his family when he was five years old. He studied architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and then received an MA in Urban Design from Columbia University. In the late 1970s, he returned to Hong Kong. In 1982, he was one of the founders of an artistic association, the Zuni Icosahedron, and since 1985, he has been its artistic director. His theatrical works constantly draw upon traditional Chinese performing arts while using multimedia technology to create visual effects, and explore ways to revitalize traditional art in a modern setting. Two series, “Experimenting Traditions” (1991-) and “One Table Two Chairs” (1997-), remain ongoing. They have been produced not only in Hong Kong but also abroad including Tokyo, Singapore, Taipei, Shanghai, Berlin and New York, with participation by a number of traditional performers and contemporary stage artists. He won the Music Theatre NOW Award with “Tears of Barren Hill”, which was created on the basis of the interviews with one of the most famous Peking Opera performers of the 20th century, Cheng Yanqiu (2008). A short stage performance entitled “The Tale of the Crested Ibis” (2010), shown in the Japan Pavilion during the World Expo in Shanghai, presented the harmony between nature and humans beautifully through a combination of live performances by traditional Chinese Kunqu Opera artists and the projection of digital images. Around four million people enjoyed more than 6000 performances.

As an artist, besides his video and installation works, Mr. Yung is famous for his creation of a comic figure, ‘Tian Tian Xiang Shang’ (which means “progress everyday”), who has been represented in his cartoons, figurines and sculptures. He has used this character regularly for his workshops which have been held not only in Hong Kong but also in Europe, the US and Asia, as a means to inspire people to learn that cultivation of free thinking is the driving force behind the creation of new worlds.

He has also worked on international exchange, cultural policies and art education since serving as a founding member of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (1995). He is a member of the board of directors of the HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity (art school), and played a significant part in its foundation. His participation in international festivals, joint projects and international conferences, and his fostering of international networks, have served to help connect people, not necessarily artists, all over the world. In 2009, he received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. He also serves as Chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Contemporary Culture, and continues to exercise immense influence on art and culture in Hong Kong and the rest of East Asia.

For his outstanding contribution not only to the fields of art and performing art but also across a diverse range of cultural activities, Mr. Danny Yung is truly worthy of the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Prize.

Studying at Columbia University
Danny Yung in dialogue with Flee by Night performers

Message from Mr. Danny Yung