The daughter of kung fu legend Bruce Lee spoke fondly on Friday of her father’s powerful presence and energy at a preview of an exhibition to mark the 40th anniversary of his death.
Fans are gathering in the former British colony of Hong Kong for a series of commemorative events, including art gallery shows, exhibitions and even street graffiti. Many fans are urging the Hong Kong government to do more to honour the star of movies such as Enter The Dragon and Game Of Death.
Shannon Lee was just four years old when her father died in Hong Kong from acute swelling of the brain at the age of 32, at the height of his career.
She is chairwoman of the Bruce Lee Foundation, one of the organisers of the exhibition, which will run for five years.
“I remember his energy, just sort of amazing presence when you were sort of caught in his attention and I really hold that true to my heart,” Shannon Lee told a media briefing ahead of the opening on the anniversary of Lee’s death on Saturday.
Lee was American-born but raised in Hong Kong. His most popular film, Enter the Dragon, was released just six days after his death in 1973.
The Hong Kong government has come under fire from Lee’s fans for failing to open a permanent museum in his former mansion in the upscale suburb of Kowloon Tong.
Talks failed in 2011 to get Lee’s old home and it became a short-time hotel. Fans have criticised the government over what they say is the lack of a more significant memorial for one of the city’s most famous sons.
Some city legislators have suggested the government is wary of fully embracing Lee’s legacy for fear of unsettling Beijing by paying tribute to the star’s enduring sprit of youthful rebellion.
Shannon Lee said it was the first time that her foundation had lent so many things for an exhibition, referring to the more than 600 items on show at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.
“I am really thrilled,” she said. “It is the first time a major museum anywhere in the world has mounted an exhibition of this scale and for this length of time.” The exhibition includes some of the clothes Lee wore in his movies and in ordinary life, a 3D animation of him performing some of his trade-mark moves and photographs and video footage chronicling his life.
Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang, speaking at the exhibition preview, said that as a martial arts exponent, Lee was a visionary who created his own philosophy that was still admired and followed today.