Rare chance for Hong Kong's artists at London fair

Pavilion will try to drum up interest in Europe in return for a place at HK event in October

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 April, 2013, 4:13pm

Hong Kong artists will add some local colour to a fine art fair in London in June, with a pavilion featuring galleries and artworks from the city.

Local fair Fine Art Asia is bringing the pavilion to Masterpiece London - which shows fine art, antiques and design - in a first for the Hong Kong industry at a Western art fair.

The two fairs have put aside their rivalry for a rare reciprocal deal. It will see three to four Hong Kong galleries exhibiting at the London fair in June, and a European pavilion at the Hong Kong fair in October. But while it is something of a coup for the organisers of the local fair, they say Hong Kong's art industry needs more government support.

Fine Art Asia co-chairman and director Calvin Hui said the pavilion, with "Rooted" as its theme, will feature works - including ink, photography and mixed media from this and the last century - by artists from Hong Kong and the mainland. It will also show antiques reflecting the history and culture of Hong Kong.

It will take up a space of about 66 square metres, Hui said.

Details of the exhibition are yet to be finalised, but Hui said he hoped the pavilion could "promote Hong Kong galleries and artists to a European market", adding that they lacked this exposure. He said that it was rare for the rival art fairs to provide such an opportunity for promotion. "While sales will be important, raising the profile of Hong Kong's art industry is the main goal for this pavilion," Hui said.

Fine Art Asia founder and co-chairman Andy Hei said the local pavilion would be backed by Hong Kong's Economic and Trade Office in London, but he hoped the government could play a bigger role in promoting the city's art industry.

The government already provides this support for other creative industries, such as film and design. Some local films and film companies, for example, are backed by the Film Development Fund and Trade Development Council when they take their films to overseas festivals and markets such as Cannes.

Hei expected it would take some time for the government to recognise the trade side of the art industry. But Hui was optimistic.

"If the art industry can get the same level of government support as film and design, it would be perfect - but more discussion is needed," Hui said.