Art can be found just about anywhere, even in the unlikeliest of places. For those looking to step up their culture game in Hong Kong, we've scoured the city beyond mainstream art galleries, to reveal the quaint shops and venues doubling up as art spaces. From independent shops to coffee shops, there are plenty of artworks hidden in plain sight.
RECOMMENDED: Take it to the streets and explore the city's best street art.
Hidden art spaces in Hong Kong
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 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.
Located by Aberdeen Harbour in Tin Wan, Empty Gallery is a one-of-a-kind 3,000 sqft art space. What sets this gallery apart is that it’s almost pitch-black, like a cinema. Subverting the typical “white cube” concept of art galleries, this space presents immersive and interactive exhibitions that lead to a full sensory experience of the works displayed. Get ready for an art encounter like never before.
Floating Projects was founded in February 2010 by the multi-talented Linda Lai, Joelene Mok, Cheung Yu-tsz, and Lillian Fu. The gallery provides an experimental space for the art community and a communal area for discussions between artists, curators, and writers. The founders of the space encourage the artists to continue creating even while exhibiting in the gallery. Exhibitions are held twice a year and artists are given the chance to discuss their work and receive feedback from experienced curators. In addition to displaying work in the physical gallery, Floating Projects also has an online forum where emerging and established artists write about moving imagery, contemporary art, cultural events and music.
Tai Nan Street in Sham Shui Po has become the stomping ground for many hipsters in recent years. Form Society, for example, often displays illustrations, multimedia and animation works by emerging local talents, and also hosts intimate artist talks. Late last year also saw the openings of Openground and Parallel Space. More than just a gallery with four walls to display art, the former is integrated with a café and bookstore, while the latter doubles up as a cultural workshop.
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.