Surprise! Art can be found just about anywhere, even in the unlikeliest of places. We scour the city beyond the mainstream art galleries, to reveal the quaint shops and venues doubling up as art spaces. From independent shops to coffee shops, you can soak up some culture without venturing into high-end galleries.
Hidden art spaces in Hong Kong
Sure, artwork hanging in a hotel lobby isn’t exactly ground-breaking but Hotel Jen has been working hard to shift the paradigm and to transform itself into an art destination. The hotel has previously collaborated with Affordable Art Fair to showcase incredible photographs by Tommy Fung and Hong Kong Tramways, sharing rare historical images of Western District and the local tramways. Don’t forget to add this place to your list when you next go gallery- hopping around Hong Kong.
The images that immediately come to mind when thinking about Harbour City are packed stores and overzealous shoppers. But tucked away inside Hong Kong’s biggest shopping mall is a scenic gallery that boasts floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Victoria Harbour. The works on display here strive to be accessible. Popular local illustrators like B Wing and Kila Cheung – known for his charming characters painted on construction site lights – as well as notable Asian artists such as Shinji Ohmaki and Yue Minjun have all made appearances. Take a break from retail therapy and opt for a spot of culture instead.
A one-of-a-kind venue in Hong Kong, Mahka is where fashion, music and art all live under the same roof. Customers can shop for products by indie designers as well as exclusive collections designed in collaboration with artists. Visitors to the store often enter past artwork courtesy of the roster of artists that Mahka supports. The genres on display vary from photography and street art to tattoo designs and even the occasional performance piece – the venue once hosted Nyotaimori Tokyo, showcasing the art of eating sushi off of a naked woman’s body.
Just one of the many under-the-radar creative ventures currently operating in Sham Shui Po is concept venue Openground, a café, bookstore and workshop space all rolled into one. The space aims to be a platform where you can enjoy good art with your afternoon cup of joe. This is the perfect place to check out the artists making big waves in the local art scene such as Little Thunder and Wong Ping, as well as hear intimate talks with the masters themselves.
Inspired by her own multicultural upbringing, Hong Kong artist Catherine Grossrieder, also known as “Cath Love”, has partnered with her friend Maggie Chiu to open Club Third – an art gallery that provides a space that encourages artistic expression among Third Culture Kids. Located in a small, nondescript alley of Sai Ying Pun, showcases at the gallery range from whimsical painting with dark undertones by local-born Filipina artists, to Chinese-Belgian mix LGBT artists whose colourful creations surprisingly come from a critical and sad place.
This artsy three-storey restaurant puts a modern spin on Chinese cuisine and interior design. While most restaurants decorate their walls with unremarkable artwork, Tycoon Tann celebrates Hong Kong’s arts scene by hosting regular art exhibitions every two to three months. As you savour its signature east-meets-west cocktails and dishes, admire gallery-worthy artworks created by local talents like Justin Y.
This independent local bar and gallery hides in plain sight off Hollywood Road, in an alley across the street from PMQ. The venue draws a motley crew of local artists, musicians and writers as well as expats who might not fall into any of the above categories but appreciate art nevertheless. The space frequently exhibits work from local artists and also serves a selection of wines, mixed drinks and craft beers from Heroes, Coedo, Black Kite and more.