March 15, 2019
There is no perfect time than March to explore Hong Kong’s cultural life, particularly the art scene.
Those visiting the city within the month are more than welcome to participate in the plethora of arts and cultural events around town, including the internationally renowned Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central, which provide rare occasions for enjoying famous art pieces and rubbing shoulders with the glitterati at the same time.
It’s lavish visual feast at Art Basel Hong Kong — the mainstay of Hong Kong Arts Month — on March 29 to 31 and at Art Central on March 27 to 31. On its seventh year, Art Basel Hong Kong returns to the conveniently located Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre with 242 galleries from 36 countries, 21 of which are new exhibitors.
Art Central, on the other hand, boasts over 100 galleries showcasing art from around the globe. Other features are carefully curated performances, large-scale installations, new media art and talks. Appreciating art aside, patrons are served a riveting view of Victoria Harbour and the city’s signature skyline at the Central Harbourfront venue.
New cultural hotspots to capture a slice of history
One of the various important cultural venues that have sprung up in the city over the past 10 months is Xiqu Centre, which opened in January. Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Cantonese opera, the Xiqu Centre is noteworthy not simply for being the first venue in the much-anticipated West Kowloon Cultural District to open its doors, but also for its striking architectural design that juxtaposes traditional and modern elements.
With a futuristic form and a steel structure, the eight-storey edifice is in fact a reinterpretation of the traditional Chinese lantern, whereas its façade is shaped to resemble the parted curtains on a performing stage. While admiring the architecture, visitors are encouraged to enjoy an intimate Cantonese opera viewing experience over traditional tea and dim sum at the Tea House Theatre.
Situated in Tsuen Wan, once an industrial area and now a major residential district, The Mills celebrates the golden days of Hong Kong’s textile industry and carries on the legacy by nurturing the city’s creative talents.
Inside the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT) set to open during Arts Month, visitors can learn about the history of Hong Kong’s textile industry and the current local and global textile arts landscape.
Starting March 16, visitors can appreciate the array of contemporary textile arts displayed at the “Unfolding: Fabric of Our Life Exhibition.”
Another key heritage site worth visiting is Tai Kwun, one of the city’s largest heritage revitalization project which took a decade and HK$3.8 billion to complete. Three iconic declared monuments are now part of this cultural destination that houses a world-standard contemporary art museum, some of the city’s chicest restaurants and boutiques.
Characterful neighborhoods for local street art
Out in the open, art has penetrated the corners of different neighbourhoods, inviting the curious to explore these living “street art museums” like Sheung Wan at Central and the latest “Artlane” in the hipster Sai Ying Pun area, where murals by local and overseas artists can be found on walls of old buildings and staircases.
More than meets the eye (and the lens)
Those who seek more sensory stimulation find a plethora of performing arts events, the most notable of which is the Hong Kong Arts Festival.
With a history of over four decades, the annual bonanza featuring opera, theater, music, dance and more has been an artery of the city’s cultural life.
Visitors have the opportunities to enjoy 166 performances and over 300 exciting array of outreach activities by over 1,700 artists from around the world during the 31-day-long program this year, which started on February 21 and culminates on March 23.
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