Ngai Ning Yu
BA Fine Art: Painting - Camberwell College of the Art, 2025
Ngai Ning Yu’s paintings explore the concept of 'The Home' in relation to memory and the contrast of presence and absence in a space touched by human intervention. Her paintings of uninhabited places reveal traces of human presence in what was left behind. These lingering shadows, unmade bedclothes, curtains, door handles, and objects associated with domestic interiors comment on the fleeting nature of existence and the passing of time being imprinted in a physical way.
In her paintings, the Hong Kong-born artist explores the construction of spaces that live on in memory. Subject matter is frozen in the stillness of a single moment, a state of being that cannot be returned to. The artist works from her photos and memories of places she once inhabited, thus creating indirect self-portraits that house a deeply nostalgic and lonely undertone. There is intimacy in bringing viewers into the privacy of the home interiors in her memory, yet the paintings also resemble archetypes of a space eerily familiar. It leaves viewers halfway without resolve in an anonymous, almost “template” place where the universal familiarity of these items can allow viewers to subconsciously resonate with the work.
“My paintings verbalise the hidden images that can be triggered by a certain sensory experience. Despite the detachment that comes from accumulation of lived experiences, certain triggers like the cast of light can bring me back to a memory or impression of home.” This peculiar manifestation of imagery from an emotional response forms the beginning of Yu’s creative process, and the grey area between memory and invention is where her paintings reside.
Yu has exhibited work internationally, most recently in the London shows “A Sense of Place” at Ogilvy Southbank and "Before Now, After Then" at Bargehouse Gallery. At 15 years old, Yu’s award-winning paintings exhibited in Hong Kong’s Chantal Miller Gallery and during Fine Art Asia at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Awards and residencies:
Finalist - Sovereign Art Students Prize, Hong Kong, November 2020
Recipient of a Visual Arts Scholarship, Renaissance College Hong Kong, July 2020
First Prize winner - Asia Society’s ‘Sincerely Me - Inspired by Pan Yu Lin’ art competition, January 2019
Shortlisted - UOB ‘Art in Ink Awards’, September 2019
Finalist - Young Artists Development Fund’s ‘Hong Kong Territory-wide Youths Painting Day’, October 2018