HK’s New Muse

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Hong Kong, July 4: Since the pandemic, the art industry has faced unprecedented challenges but Asia’s art market has displayed resilience with Hong Kong emerging as the region’s arts and culture hub. Thanks to the city’s success at hosting art events, exhibitions and auctions safely, Hong Kong’s art scene blossomed.
With the busy artistic calendar starting in May, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) launched an ‘Arts in Hong Kong’ campaign – a year-long campaign to showcase to a global audience the city’s extraordinary and enduring appeal as an art and cultural hub.
The campaign aims to raise Hong Kong’s international profile further, offering in-depth community arts and cultural tours and interactive art tech experiences to encourage the local public and visitors alike to rediscover the city from a cultural perspective.
Helmed by marquee events – Art Basel Hong Kong, Christie’s Hong Kong Spring Auctions and exciting additions such as French May and Art Central, art events are reporting strong sales and support across all sectors and market segments. And, along with the newly opened world-class infrastructure at West Kowloon Cultural District; the M+ Museum and the Hong Kong Palace Museum solidify the city’s standing as arts and culture powerhouse attracting investors and art businesses across the globe.

Ellen Pau The Shape of Light
Ellen Pau’s ‘The Shape of Light’ on the M+ Facade, Hong Kong. Image supplied.

Digital art, an art form that has gained traction over the years was highly visible in many art events this year. The Hong Kong Museum of Art and the upcoming Affordable Art Fair have included digital art elements to cater to a growing appetite for digital art. Most notably at Art Basel, where Hong Kong-based moving image pioneer Ellen Pau’s ‘The Shape of Light’, co-commissioned by Art Basel and M+ and supported by UBS, was presented as the first major co-commission project on the LED façade of M+.
As a leading Arts and Cultural Hub, Hong Kong continues to pioneer art technology by championing new art trends such as NFT and shining a spotlight on diverse talents.
This year alone, there are upwards of 10 ground-breaking NFT-related events in the city. From “A Woman’s World”, a first of its kind in Asia showcasing NFT art by female artists in Hong Kong to Asia’s largest NFT exhibition “ARTAVERSE” featuring more than 100 exhibitors to K11 MUSEA’s “METAVISION”, an ambitious showcase of more than 200 NFT works around the mall.

Adrian MOAR by Joan Cornellà on screen (Photo: Courtesy of K11 Musea)
Adrian MOAR by Joan Cornellà on-screen (Photo: Courtesy of K11 Musea). Image supplied.

Derry Ainsworth, a Hong Kong-based NFT artist and Creative Director of Digital Art Fair Asia hopes to cultivate and inspire a new generation of art collectors to embrace the use of digital technology to explore the beauty of art and culture. 
“I truly believe that art in all its forms will always have value, whether it be a digital NFT or a physical painting. Currently, there is a huge interest in NFTs because it is an exciting, technology that offers a new platform for people to collect and experience art. NFT art also benefits both the artist and collector because of traceable secondary sales, security and utility,” Derry Ainsworth said.

Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+
Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+. Image supplied.

Ainsworth who is also part of a community of Hong Kong enthusiasts called Hong Kong Super Fan loves getting inspiration from markets, buildings and especially, neon-lit streets as it brings a sci-fi feel to his works.
But Derry is most excited that the city is at the forefront of elevating the new art form.
“Hong Kong is celebrating Asian art and culture through the adaptation of technology. By pioneering the digital art spaces with exhibitions like the Digital Art Fair Asia in September, the city has established itself as a supporter in this field by celebrating digital art, educating consumers and providing a global platform for artists to grow,” Ainsworth added.
Suhanya Raffel, the Museum Director of M+, Hong Kong’s new museum of visual culture predicts that the art ecology of Hong Kong will expand and amplify in areas that have not been explored, with M+ playing a pivotal role that contributes to and leads the growth of the ecology.
“M+ has also been looking into NFT amid the rising popularity of metaverse. Our curators have begun to explore the meaning and long-term impacts of NFT as it rises in prominence. Hong Kong has a great potential of turning NFT into a new kind of art display that drives technological development and community engagement beyond the geographical boundaries, opening doors to a novel viewing experience for museum visitors and collectors alike.”
As investment in NFTs continues to grow exponentially, the art ecosystem needs best-in-class digital solutions to reassure investors and collectors while providing artists with the platform to showcase their work.
With buy-in from the public, and private sectors and continued investment in the arts, cultural and technological infrastructure, Hong Kong is ready to be the global digital arts hub.

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