Highlights from the Hong Kong Affordable Art Fair and why we love it

Art Basel and Art Central are cool, but the work displayed there is not exactly cheap. We went to check out the more affordable version this year

Rhea Mogul |

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'Playground' by artist Vanessa Wong at the Affordable Art Fair 2018.

Every year, Hong Kong plays host to Art Basel and Art Central, two premier art fairs that attract huge crowds. What some Hongkongers may not know is that there is another art event that is just as great and way more affordable – and is, in fact, called the Affordable Art Fair. This year’s event, with art from more than 1,000 artists and 115 art galleries, took place from May 18-20 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. We sent along two junior reporters to check it out.

Inspiring stuff

The art fair hopes to make modern art accessible to everyone, not just art-lovers.

Some particularly interesting pieces were Mouth, Eyes, and Ears – works of charcoal on canvas by Thai artist Jirasak Anoujohn. Anoujohn’s art focuses on older people, and he puts in a lot of time and effort detailing their wrinkled skin and aged features. The subjects in his drawings have their mouths, eyes and ears covered, and sort of reflects the saying “see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil”.

Another cool piece was Marta by Spanish artist Gabriel Moreno. He draws bright, colourful images of beautiful women, using a pencil, watercolours, and a ballpoint pen. His works capture both the strength and the fragility of

his subjects.

Mina by French-American artist Denambride also focuses on women, but he uses spray paint, not pens, on concrete instead of a more traditional canvas. Denambride’s work is a reflection of life in a concrete jungle. The cracks in his concrete canvases symbolise how we are hurting our environment.

Jirasak Anoujohn's 'Mouth, Eyes, and Ears' reflects the saying "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil"
Photo: Andrea Tam

These pieces are just a little glimpse into the Affordable Art Fair, where anyone can go and pick up a painting or sculpture. The fair reminds us that art doesn’t have to be expensive; as long as there is someone out there who feels inspired or moved by it, that’s what counts.

Andrea Tam, 15, French International School

Young artists show their skills

The Affordable Art Fair featured an exhibition called “Young Talent Hong Kong”, where artworks from the city’s emerging artists were displayed. This year’s theme was “Mood”.

The first piece that caught my eye was Angela Yuen’s City Rhapsody – Project Aurous. As I was reading its description and taking a few photos of it, the artist herself came to me to talk about her work. She said she created this “fantasy homeland” piece with a variety of objects made locally in the 50s and 60s “to honour Hong Kong people’s perseverance and devotion to their city at that time”.

I think her work captures the essence of Hong Kong and today’s youthful spirit at the same time.

Cheung Wai-lok was another young artist who stood out for all the right reasons. His series of amazing photographs was called Hole. His images, which depict a round mirror reflecting the bright blue sky against a range of dark, gritty backgrounds, gave me a feeling of serenity and freshness the more I looked at them.

Gabriel Moreno's "Marta" captures both the strength and fragility of his subjects.
Photo: Andrea Tam

In the middle of the exhibition hall was a little wooden caravan called M+ Rover, which turned out to be a travelling creative studio and exhibition space. The M+ Rover displayed different styles of art that had been created by students from around Hong Kong. I particularly liked the project called “Thing Beyond Things”, which showed that we can breathe new life into everyday objects by using them in different ways.

Angelina Wang, 16, Chinese International School

Edited by Ginny Wong