Dealers fired up for action

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 May, 2008, 12:00am

Three years is a miniscule timescale in the world of antiquities, but the Asia International Arts & Antiques Fair (AIAA) has achieved a lot in that short period.

Organisers said the event was now the largest of its type in Asia and a vital date in the schedules of dealers and collectors worldwide. More than 150 exhibitors have booked segments of the 10,000 square-metre exhibition space at the AsiaWorld-Expo for the 3rd AIAA being held from today until 3pm on Monday.

'AIAA fairs in Hong Kong in the past two years successfully received good responses and feedback among arts and antiques professionals,' said Paul Choi, project director at Paper Communication Exhibition Services, the main organiser of the event.

More than 7,400 visitors attended last year's fair and 70per cent of exhibitors said they would return this year.

Hardly surprising that sales totalled more than HK$200million, according to the organiser.

Highlights this year include two pavilions devoted to Chinese calligraphy and classic oil paintings, both featuring more than 40 pieces worth HK$60million.

Calligraphy artists Li Yansheng and Cui Ruzhuo, together with painters Xu Weixin, Chen Yiming, Zheng Yi and Tsui Tinyun, will be at the fair to meet visitors and promote their art.

Various events have also been organised between AIAA and Asia International Contemporary Arts Exhibition to encourage younger artists.

The Artfruit Cup will be presented during the contemporary arts exhibition while artists who participated in a competition based on the theme of the Beijing Olympics will have their work shown and sold at the fair.

The Flutist - one of the last masterpieces by Chen Yifei (1946-2005) - will be exhibited for the first time in Hong Kong. The oil painting has been valued at US$2.7million.

Expert teams visited seven mainland cities last November to select dozens of antique masterpieces to be displayed in the Chinese Ceramics Pavilion. The event organiser said the works would fascinate collectors of ceramics the world over as they were created at historic kilns.

With art and other collectables now increasingly forming a part of investment portfolios, many eyes will be drawn to the Hetian Jade Pavilion. Prices have soared in recent years and the pavilion will provide a platform for collectors whose displays will include Hetian Jade accessories and decorations.

At the Poly Contemporary Arts Pavilion, a review of the achievements of overseas Chinese artists will be displayed, while the Private Collections Corner will feature pieces from dealers who have agreed to display precious items from their collections.

The fair will also be the last stop for the International Touring Exhibition of Chinese Ceramic Art Collectables which feature the works of famous contemporary ceramic artists.

These ceramic wares are characterised by renowned Chinese ancient kilns and reflect the features of different schools of ceramic art.

Seminars and forums will be sponsored by the organiser, including the China Provincial Museums Curators Conference, and these are to raise awareness among foreign collectors of China's museums, and promoting cultural exchanges between the mainland and Hong Kong.

The conference is organised with the Fudan University and will be conducted in Putonghua.

Intense efforts have been made to ensure the authenticity of the items with a professional examinations committee verifying all exhibits. It is among procedures adopted to continually ensure the AIAA fair meets the highest standards.

George Kaku, managing director of Asia International Contemporary Arts Promotion Association, said: 'Exhibits that cannot pass the verification examination will be rejected immediately.'

The Greater China Culture Global Association has been selected as the main beneficiary of one of the auctions being held at the fair.

It organises various Chinese cultural activities to enhance the understanding of traditional culture among overseas Chinese communities and to strengthen cultural connections among Chinese, and promote Chinese culture worldwide.

Exhibitors from countries and regions, including Japan, Australia, Britain, the Netherlands, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Germany, France, Switzerland, the United States, Taiwan, Sweden, Nepal and Belgium, will all be attending the event.