The Poverty Line Art Exhibit Opens in Hong Kong

This unique art exhibit visualizes a country's poverty line in terms of food-purchasing power
Staff Writer
The Poverty Line

Stefen Chow and Hui-Yi Lin, The Poverty Line: Pork Buns, Hong Kong, HKD 44.96, July 2011, Courtesy of Stefen Chow/INSTITUTE.

A unique art exhibit has opened in Hong Kong that visualizes a country's poverty line in terms of food-purchasing power.


As food lovers, we tend to talk about food a lot. We ponder food with a quiet (sometimes loud) intensity, considering every conceivable flavor combination, heirloom varietals, and possible substitutions. We constantly pursue restaurants and recipes, seeking creativity and novelty on our palate. And we do it in vast quantities.

But every once in awhile, it’s important to take a step back and do the opposite. The Poverty Line is an art collaboration founded by Stefen Chow and Hui-Yi Lin that visualizes each country’s poverty line in terms of food-purchasing power. The project’s photos show a day’s worth of food using a budget based on the poverty line of each respective country. In Hong Kong, this means spending only 25.25 HKD ($3.26 in U.S. dollars.)

The Hong Kong exhibition will be on display at PMQ in Central until Sunday, December 6, and it features over 1,600 photos from the Poverty Line covering 28 different countries. Organizers made an open call on social media using #thepovertyline to solicit amateur photo submissions from Hong Kong locals as well. The goal was to foster deeper engagement with poverty issues facing residents every day, and their favorites from the Hong Kong campaign will be featured all week.

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