Cosmin Costinas is stepping down as executive director of Hong Kong’s Para Site art space after 11 years, to be replaced by Billy Tang, who is currently senior curator at the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai. Tang, 35, was born in the UK and has been working in mainland China since 2013. His parents were Vietnamese refugees in Hong Kong before moving to the UK, a family connection that gives special meaning to his move to the city, he says. “In the late 1970s, my parents arrived in Hong Kong as refugees from Vietnam in hopes of a better future. This diasporic journey intersecting with Hong Kong’s history has always given me a strong sense of solidarity with the city and its culture,” he says in a statement. He was last in Hong Kong in May 2021 as co-curator of “ Curtain ”, a collaboration between RAM and Para Site under a long-term partnership. Para Site was founded in 1996 by Hong Kong artists Patrick Lee, Leung Chi-wo, Phoebe Man Ching-ying, Sara Wong Chi-hang, Leung Mee-ping, Tsang Tak-ping and Lisa Cheung. It has a strong international reputation for its cosmopolitan and liberal outlook and has long included a statement in English and Chinese in its programmes in support of “the democratic aspirations of the people of Hong Kong”. ‘Opening a gallery is the best way to support the Hong Kong art scene’ Under the leadership of Costinas, who is Romanian, the art space has continued to promote diversity within Hong Kong’s art scene while also hosting frequent large-scale international exhibitions that amplify the perspectives of women and LGBTQ artists, as well as historically marginalised cultures. Currently, Para Site is the partner institute of the Kathmandu Triennale event in Nepal, which is opening on March 1, with Costinas as its artistic director. Costinas says he is not leaving because of the erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong since 2020, when a national security law was introduced alongside new censorship mechanisms for the arts. “We haven’t tested the limits in Hong Kong and we are mainly operating on assumptions at the moment,” he says. Instead, he feels that after a decade at Para Site it is time to move on, and he has been lured by an attractive position in Berlin, Germany, which will be made public in due course. “Serving at Para Site has been the greatest honour,” he says in the statement. “I will remain grateful to have been a witness to this incredible past decade in Hong Kong’s history, with its debates, cultural developments and international exchanges.” Para Site relies on a mixture of government funding and private donations and, as part of its 25th anniversary initiatives, has launched a number of programmes since 2020 to provide financial support to artists hit by the pandemic.