Put down your phones and turn off the “Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club” marathon (yeah, we see you over there). Hong Kong Arts Month is nigh upon us and it’s about time you went out and got some culture that wasn’t recommended to you by Netflix’s algorithm.
The annual month-long celebration of high-brow artsy endeavors kicks off on Friday, March 1, and in addition to flagship exhibitions from big names in international art, there are plenty of homegrown events worth checking out. So, to those who say Hong Kong has no culture, we say, oh yeah?
The crown jewels of this year’s Arts Month are the Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central exhibitions. Art Basel — the renowned contemporary art roadshow with annual exhibitions in Basel, Hong Kong, and Miami — will run from March 29 — March 31 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The exhibition will feature more than 240 galleries from 36 countries, and promises “an in-depth overview of the region’s diversity through both historical material and cutting-edge works by established and emerging artists.”
Art Central, meanwhile, takes place from March 27 — March 31 at Central Harbourfront, and features more than 100 galleries. Offerings will include “performance art, large scale installations and talks by some of the leading names in contemporary art today.” For those without a keen eye for contemporary art, but who wouldn’t mind a couple of art-adjacent cocktails or snacks, Art Central will also feature a pop-up modern Italian restaurant as well as an outdoor food and cocktail area.
Further afield is The Mills, a former textile factory-turned-cultural hub in Tsuen Wan that will be hosting an exhibition of contemporary textile arts starting March 16. “Unfolding: Fabric of Our Life” will feature works and performances by 17 artists and collectives from around the region. According to organizers: “The exhibition uses textile as testimony to facts that have faded in modern history, hidden socio-political agendas and personal and collective experiences of textile labour in the era of accelerated globalisation.” Seems like they’ve got the figurative Asian textile art game pretty much sewn up.
Another revitalized cultural space, Tai Kwun, is promising something a bit more high-energy for its HKArtsFestival@TaiKwun exhibition — indeed, nothing short of a “spectacular collision of time and space.” What kind of spectacular collision of time and space you ask? Why, a “dance mega-party” featuring “site-specific performances, urban dance, street dance battles, community and contemporary dance, workshops and screenings,” of course. The festivities run from March 2 — March 10.
Last but certainly not least, the Hong Kong Arts Festival (which is actually already ongoing, and runs through March 31), is bringing together the creme de la creme of the performing arts. The four-decade-old institution will feature more than 160 opera, theater, music, and dance performances by premier ensembles from around the world.
Well, there you have it. Whether you take advantage of the aforementioned offerings to expand your cultural horizons is, of course, up to you. But at least now when you tell your friends you’re staying in to binge-watch Netflix in your sweatpants because “there’s nothing going on,” both they — and you — will know you’re lying.