Hong Kong’s Art Scene: The Rights and Wrongs

Art in Hong Kong

By Lauren Codling

The art scene in Hong Kong is seemingly booming; with the major success story of Art Central and a constant fixture of new and interesting art making its way to galleries dotted across the islands, the field appears to be growing from strength to strength. But what is right and wrong about it? We look a little deeper into it to find out more.

What’s Right With It?
A Continued Effort to Create a Future for Hong Kong Art
The Kowloon based M+ visual museum being constructed to open in 2019 is an important sign that Hong Kong continues to take it’s art scene seriously. The recent announcement of Sri-Lankan born Suhanyu Raffel taking over as the Executive Director of the gallery is an exciting one, promising to bring a breath of fresh air to the future of visual art in Hong Kong.

The Community and Passion
Against all odds, the art scene in Hong Kong is thriving. Artists run foundations for support and band together to organise events that can benefit the art world – as a tight-knit local scene, there is a sense of community in the air. Artist-run spaces, such as the independent non-profit gallery Para Site in Quarry Bay, emphasise the local passion and support that manages to keep the art alive.

The Rawness and Accessibility
Once you open your eyes to the Hong Kong streets, you spend so much time wandering and you’ll see art at every corner; the graffiti that lines the alleys, streets and stairways has become something of a constant fixture around the city. From Bradley Theodore’s Karl Lagerfeld skeleton mural in Lan Kwai Fong to the graffiti walk of fame on Argyle Street, the urban jungle allows artists and art lovers to express, explore and enjoy the rawest kind of art that is available.

What’s Wrong With It?
Relying on International Markets
Galleries such as mur Nomade in Aberdeen and Lehmann Maupin on Pedder Street both rely on the European and American market to continue exhibiting artwork. For smaller local galleries, the distance to Europe is a significant issue, with art fairs important but expensive to get to, meaning that they struggle to gain an international reputation against those who can afford it.

Censoring the Voices
A more sinister side to the world of art within Hong Kong are the issues regarding censorship. Private galleries and the general public are afraid to upset the government, as political issues are becoming more and more threatening to those who oppose them. A light show on the ICC was pulled in May after local pro-democracy artists Sampson Wong and Jason Lam projected a guerrilla protest art piece down the side of the building; just one incident of many where artists are silenced.

Discover art & cultural events happening throughout the city on The Hong Kong Events Calendar by All That Junk

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