Sophia Hotung is a Eurasian Hong Kong writer and illustrator, best known for creating The Hong Konger art collection while bedridden from autoimmune diseases. Sophia is the author of The Hong Konger Anthology, The Heist of Hooded Light, and her work has been exhibited across Hong Kong at the Digital Art Fair, Affordable Art Fair, Oi Ling Antiques, Soho House, and K11 ARTUS. As a disability advocate, Sophia channels proceeds from her art and books into initiatives for chronic disability issues, women’s rights, and arts and literature in Hong Kong.
The origin story
I'm a disabled Eurasian writer and illustrator from Hong Kong. Originally an IT audit analyst and product manager, I pivoted to a creative career in 2021 when my autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses made it impossible to keep my 9-to-5 job.
The Hong Konger
I am best known for creating The Hong Konger collection, a series of 100 artworks inspired by the New Yorker and growing up in Hong Kong. It has exhibited at the Affordable Art Fair, Soho House, Eaton Hong Kong, the Wild Lot, Oi Ling Antiques, Young Soy Gallery, and Art Next Expo.
In 2021, I published my first book, The Hong Konger Anthology, which sold out of its first print-run in three weeks and was named Bookazine's Book of the Week during Christmas 2021. In January 2022, I served as K11 ARTUS’s artist in residence and wrote and illustrated a children's crime novel, The Heist of Hooded Light, which K11 ARTUS published in October 2022.
In August 2022, I sold out at my first Affordable Art Fair show, where I also created the signature wall for the Fair: a 216-portrait mural of real Hong Kongers. In October 2022, sold my first NFT through Sotheby’s at the Digital Art Fair as part of a collection co-created with Sophia the Robot. Proceeds went to The Women's Foundation Hong Kong.
In December 2022, I launched the Pangolin Fund, which donates 20% of all limited series print sales to local charities as a way for The Hong Konger to support real Hong Kongers. I also partner with charities to create art or advise on artistic projects. Previous partners include Playright, The Women's Foundation, Equal Justice, the American Club Foundation, and the Karen Leung Foundation. In December 2022, I was named one of three finalists for the Hong Kong American Chamber of Commerce's Young Changemaker Award and I am currently one of three finalists for the South China Morning Post's Spirit of Hong Kong Culture Award.
Chronic illness advocacy
I have seven chronic illnesses, four of which are autoimmune. Some people want to know what ails me. The diseases all have long, boring names, but here they are: autoimmune hepatitis, autoimmune cholangitis, ocular myasthenia gravis, celiac disease, osteoporosis, myalgic encephalomyelitis, and fibromyalgia. I blog and speak publicly about working while disabled, invisible disabilities, and managing chronic illnesses, especially as a young person.