Since a revamped PMQ opened to the public at the end of 2014, the city’s independent art scene has gone from strength to strength. It’s expanded beyond the traditional areas of Aberdeen and Hollywood Road, with artists across all mediums now enjoying greater space and freedom to showcase and discuss their work across town. If you’re looking to get your culture fix beyond the traditional art galleries and museums, or checked off all the best exhibitions in town this week, here are some of Hong Kong’s hottest independent art platforms that are worth checking out.
The best independent art spaces in Hong Kong
Originally a cotton mill, this 1960s Tsuen Wan factory building is set to take on a new lease of life. Slated to open in 2018, the 264,000 sq ft space will be home to a community for the fashion textile industry while creating a financially sustainable social ecosystem. The Mills will consist of three major spaces. First is Mills Fabrica, a gallery and shopping area focused on the business of fashion, aiming to help young creators and small start-ups kickstart their future. An art gallery is planned, which hopes to attract local and global creative communities while operating on a fully non-profit basis (the gallery is in fact already operating under the name Mill6 in a Sheung Wan pop-up). The final component, Shopfloor, should be a space showcasing the work of artists, designers and local talents and giving shoppers the opportunity to interact with the creators behind the pieces.
In light of Hong Kong’s recent political turbulence, a two-year project has emerged in the form of a non-profit alternative art space. Following events like the Umbrella Movement, Sham Shui Po’s Things That Can Happen (also referred to as Things) was established with a belief that many Hongkongers have also had a creative awakening. The gallery, run by local artists and art industry staffers, provides an exhibition space, residency programme, roof garden and also a small library containing publications curated by artists. It’s a space for artists to express, explore and experiment, where dialogue is also encouraged – Things believes that art goes beyond what hangs on the wall. Being the only platform of its kind in Hong Kong, this is a great spot to explore for anyone wanting to get a glimpse into local alternative art.
Scheduled to open late this year (if the issues surrounding that collapsed wall are fixed) is another massive independent art space in the heart of the Hong Kong. Conveniently located next to the Mid-Levels escalator – and complete with a pedestrian footbridge straight from the escalators – is the Tai Kwun compound. Originally the former Central Police Station, the Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison, the site will soon be one of the biggest creative hubs in the city (as well as one of our largest revitalisation projects), consisting of 16 heritage buildings, two open spaces and two new buildings, which will house art galleries and a 200 seat auditorium. Once open, the Tai Kwun Centre will host six to eight curated art exhibitions annually, as well as daily interactive tours exploring the heritage of the site. The space will also host many immersive programmes, including performances and workshops, providing yet another opportunity for Hongkongers to re-imagine a once closed-off part of town.
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 recieve feedback from experienced curators. In addition to displaying work in the physical gallery, Floating Projects also hass an online forum where emerging and established artists write about moving imagery, contemporary art, cultural events and music.
Tucked away in an industrial area of Sha Tin lies the low-key, low profile Starprojects. Founded in 2015, the 8,000 sq ft gallery has already held three successful exhibitions, in a space which aims to discover emerging artists, curators and other practitioners, with a focus on Chinese contemporary art. The site’s first exhibition Glossy! Shiny! Fertility! featured an exciting mix of local and Mainland artists, while subsequent exhibitions also featured both emerging and established artists in a quest to question conventional limits, the pushing of artistic boundaries and the challenging of societal norms in Hong Kong and China. By providing emerging creatives with a place to produce, conceptualise and realise their ideas, Starprojects hopes to help them gain wider exposure.
This curatorial project and performance venue exhibits a range of local and international artists, exhibiting work that remains relevant to the Hong Kong art community. An intriguing range of art, from contemporary dance to visual art is displayed and performed in the Chai Wan space, that’s been brought to life by Inti Guerrero and Lily Kwok. The venue is a low-cost vehicle for aspiring Hong Kong artists to exhibit their work. The space has glass walls allowing the works to further interact with the surrounding neighbourhood.
Looking for more art?
Add a bit of art and culture to your week and discover a plethora of incredible art at one of the city’s art galleries. From local and international talents to photography and street art, find works by established and up-and-coming artists at the best art galleries in Hong Kong. For a taste of the avant garde, there are many new indepedent art spaces that have popped up all over the city and fanstasitc museums to satifsy your culture fix. Not sure where to start? Check out our pick of the best art exhibitions in Hong Kong this week for inspiration.