A to Z of Hong Kong’s Art Scene

Hong Kong in itself is a unique aesthetic — from the architectural overload of the city to the rare natural landscapes of the island, Hong Kong’s vibrant textures, amazing food, and fast-paced lifestyle is what makes the art scene come to life — there’s inspiration around every corner.

In Hong Kong, you can see art sculpted and built by the bare hands of numerous clay ceramicists, like Alan Lai Chi Kong in Fo Tan and Yokky Wong in Aberdeen.

There are now more gallerists, curators and tastemakers than ever before, including Alan Lo, co-founder of Duddell’s and the Press Room Group, and Johnson Chang, director of Hanart TZ Gallery.

Photography has its own culture and scene. Check out Image Playground, which sells camera gear and offers shared darkroom space to help foster the community.

Hong Kong is renowned for its bright lights and neon streetscapes. Take in the neon washed streets around Nathan Road and the eclectic life along Temple Street. The city itself is one giant art piece.

Despite Hong Kong’s infamously high rents, it’s still possible to find prime real estate space to enjoy the arts free of charge. Check out the harbour-side Freespace Happening to discover new artists and music, dance, literature, food, street performers, markets, workshops and more.

If you like your art to carry solemn or strong political and cultural messages, take a look at the video installations found in places like the Edouard Malingue Gallery in Central Hong Kong. The cacophony of sights and sound has deep meaning but can feel like an assault on your senses.

Many art buildings are renovated from historical sites, like PMQ, a former dormitory for police officers that’s now a creative hub with design studios, shops and offices; and Tai Kwun, a center for heritage and arts on the former Central Police Station compound.

The pseudonym for a French street artist who secretly placed tiled characters from video games and cartoons of the late 1970s and early 1980s (think: Hong Kong Phooey, Pac-Man and Space Invaders) on buildings throughout Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.

Old and new, nature and urban, contemporary and classical, Hong Kong is a city of dramatic contrasts.

Experience art in motion with the thriving Hong Kong Ballet at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. Or, go to Kowloon Park on Sunday afternoons for Kung Fu Corner, and witness the more traditional Chinese martial arts being practiced in Hong Kong today.

You can find interesting local artists and great art in the hidden side streets of Sheung Wan and the more hidden neighborhoods of Fo Tan, Sham Shui Po, Wong Chuk Hang and more.

M+ Building
When the new M+ Building fully opens in the West Kowloon Cultural District it will be a major addition to the contemporary arts scene with its gallery and museum space.

Even in a commercial city like Hong Kong, there’s still room for artist-run galleries like Para Site, one of the oldest and most active independent art institutions in Asia.

Hong Kong is a world of odd and audacious art. Edouard Malingue Gallery and Gallery Exit house contemporary works and installations that will make you scratch your head.

Public Art
Public art is everywhere and can be accessible to all, from outdoor murals around SoHo and Central, to public statues and sculptures in parks and gathering spaces, such as the British sculptor Henry Moore’s ‘Double Oval’ outside Jardine House or the modern, interactive sculpture ‘Soundscape’ in Tamar Park by Hong Kong architects Steven Ho, Alvin Kung and Edmond Wong.

In Hong Kong? Never! The city dances to the beats of construction, industry, traffic and life. Even if locals are adept at tuning out the noise, the sheer energy and life force of Hong Kong itself is almost palpable and definitely inspirational.

Swing through Sham Shui Po for a raw and unfiltered look at local lifestyles and scenes inspiring artists like illustrator Jonathan Jay Lee.

As a public art project, local artists, including Noble Wong, painted colorful murals on metal shutters along streets in Wan Chai, Sai Ying Pun and Sheung Wan.

Experience the timeless tradition of Cantonese opera, complete with full dress, makeup and stories, at Yau Ma Tei Theatre in Kowloon.

Venues such as The Empty Gallery do their part in showcasing unconventional art exhibitions to bring attention to Hong Kong’s underground art scene.

The architectural layout of Hong Kong is dizzying, from the fluidity of the Jockey Club Innovation Tower to monster skyscrapers in Central and Wan Chai.

Art covers many walls around Hong Kong, from the high-end galleries to street art, murals and more. Explore the streets leading off Hollywood Road for vibrant street art.

Cultural X-Change
East meets West in Hong Kong, from the blending of languages to food, culture and art. The cultural exchange reaches its climax during Hong Kong Arts Month, and especially during Hong Kong Art Week, when artists from all over the world come together in celebration of art.

Local millennial artists to watch out for include Sim Chan and Celia Cheuk.

Contemporary Cantonese performer ‘Frog King’ is a perfect example of the playfulness of of Hong Kong performance art.