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Living in Hong Kong

Beyond Business: Hong Kong Art

Hong Kong presents itself as having a strong focus on professional business and development. However, there is more to see than countless office blocks in this dynamic city. Even if you have traveled to the city to work, you can begin to discover the proliferation of Hong Kong art.

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This is as diverse as the city itself, mixing colonial, Chinese and international influences. More appealingly, Hong Kong art is not only contained in museums – although there are plenty offering both local and international exhibitions. Art festivals take place annually, each with a different focus: traditional art, as well as theater, music and other performed arts.

Even looking around the city will be rewarding. The architecture reflects both Eastern and Western influences, as old buildings are found in the middle of blocks of new skyscrapers, proving that in Hong Kong, art is all around.

Hong Kong Art: Contemporary and Traditional Art

In Hong Kong, art exhibitions range from traditional Chinese art to contemporary art installations and photography. Different groups have formed to promote contemporary Hong Kong art and support local artists. Artists on the Hong Kong Art Web, for example, work with different media such as ceramics, installations, painting, photography or sculpture.

Traditional Chinese artwork has a strong focus on paintings, calligraphy and antiquities. Few artists make traditional art these days, and enthusiasts are encouraged to visit Hong Kong’s museums to enjoy it, instead of the city’s modern galleries.

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Hong Kong Art: Museums

One of the biggest museums in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Museum of Art, which is a part of the Leisure and Cultural Service Department. It houses exhibitions of Chinese paintings and calligraphy works, as well as Chinese antiques and the exhibitions of local artists. At times, special exhibitions of international work – not only Hong Kong art – can be found within the museum.

Other museums of the Leisure and Cultural Service Department are, for example, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Hong Kong Railway Museum.

Independent museums are also popular, and a full list of them can be found here. If these don’t excite, The Hong Kong Arts Center offers exhibitions, lectures and projects related to contemporary art. They have a dual goal: to promote contemporary art within Hong Kong and to provide arts education.

Hong Kong Art: Art Festivals

In addition to the International Arts Carnival, New Vision Arts Festival and the World Culture Festival (all three of which involve performed art), Hong Kong hosts the annual International Art and Antiques Fair, Fine Art Asia.

This festival provides a platform for Hong Kong art and wider Asian arts and crafts, whether traditional or contemporary. An academic program with various lectures in Mandarin, Cantonese and English accompanies the exhibition.

Hong Kong Art: Architecture

Hong Kong’s architecture is widely known for the impressive business buildings which form the famous skyline. Some of Hong Kong’s glass, steel and marble-clad skyscrapers have been designed by famous, international architects.

One of its most impressive buildings is the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. Also look for:

  • International Commerce Center (Hong Kong’s tallest building, at 484 meters)
  • Cheung Kong Center
  • Exchange Square
  • HSBC Main Building
  • The Center
  • Bank of China Tower
  • Central Plaza

In between these modern skyscrapers, you can still find older buildings from colonial times, especially at Central, Wan Chai, Kowloon and Causeway Bay. Some of these buildings are over 150 years old:

  • Council Building, Cenotaph and Statue Square
  • Former Correspondents Club/ Fringe Club
  • Former French Mission Building/ Today Court of Appeal
  • Government House
  • St. John’s Cathedral
  • University of Hong Kong
  • Old Post Office
  • Noon Day Gun
  • The Peninsula Hotel
  • Former Kowloon British School

Aside from these buildings, Hong Kong’s international airport also is an impressive piece of architecture which fits in perfectly with the city’s overall modern make up. The British architect, Lord Norman Foster, is responsible for its design. It was voted as one of the top 10 construction achievements of the 20th century.

Updated on: December 06, 2018
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