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Hong Kong Toursim Board
Hong Kong Toursim Board
Arts down south — discover the artsiest venues tucked away in Wong Chuk Hang
Written by Time Out Hong Kong
Wong Chuk Hang has in recent times gained a reputation as one of the city’s most happening districts. Beyond the large factory facades that litter this neighbourhood are hidden cafes, world-class galleries, and art studios. Booming with creativity, these places form a thriving community that adds to Wong Chuk Hang’s distinctive charm. Get ready to go gallery-hopping and discover exciting creative art spaces nestled within this humble art district.
Willem Molesworth, Director of de Sarthe Gallery and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Gallery Association, reflects on Wong Chuk Hang’s transformation into an arts and culture hub
Gone are the days when Wong Chuk Hang was merely a place next to good old Ocean Park. Shedding its former identity as an industrial neighbourhood, Wong Chuk Hang has slowly but surely transitioned itself into one of the city’s most robust art hubs.
Willem Molesworth, director of de Sarthe Gallery and vice president of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association, relocated the gallery to Wong Chuk Hang in 2017, and has witnessed the neighbourhood’s transformation over the years. “There was always an art scene here, but just smaller,” Molesworth says.
Over the years, an increasing number of creative spaces and international art galleries, such as Ben Brown Fine Arts, have also chosen Wong Chuk Hang as their new home — relocating to venues that offer much more space but are still affordable and conveniently located compared to other parts of town. Aside from welcoming art venues, the neighbourhood has also seen a huge increase in foot traffic, which Molesworth thinks has, in large part, to do with the cavernous spaces available which is what draws art enthusiasts from all over town to come over. “Having a large space allows you a kind of privilege to appreciate art in a significant and impactful way that makes it very experiential,” he shares. “And that’s what a lot of people are looking for today, whether they’re considering to buy art or just wanting to look.”
But it’s not just galleries and studios that make up the area’s characteristics, venues such as Africa Coffee & Tea, where you can enjoy exquisite coffee in a vibrant African-themed setting, and lifestyle store Mirth, which offers an abundance of creative and artsy products from around the world, also add to the neighbourhood’s artistic energy.
Molesworth recommends checking out all the colourful murals dotted around the area — thanks to HKwalls’s 2017 project that gave artists the opportunity to cover industrial building facades with artworks of all shapes, colours, and sizes. For Molesworth, the friendly community-based art scene here is another facet of the neighbourhood that makes it unique to other art communities in town. All the galleries in the neighbourhood work hand in hand to continue the area’s development as an art centre by coordinating events, scheduling openings together, and promoting other galleries to visitors. This type of collective effort, which enables growth in the district’s art community, is something that Molesworth hopes will last in the long run as more galleries join the neighbourhood.
Start your art journey with top-notch coffee and sink your teeth into authentic African cuisine at Africa Coffee & Tea. Welcoming patrons with lush African-style furnishing, the cafe features an exotic hut-like bar, beautiful cushions and tablecloths with African patterns, and numerous wooden sculptures and paintings from Africa — all topped off with a stunning view of Southside’s lush forestry.
Stop 2: de Sarthe Gallery
de Sarthe Gallery is an impressive 9,820sq ft art space that represents and exhibits a diverse spectrum of international artists, from renowned impressionists and modern masters to emerging contemporary artists from Asia.
Stop 3: Sin Sin Fine Art
Founder of Sin Sin Fine Art, Sin Sin Man is a designer and personality with a great love for art — and it's this enthusiasm that personifies her Wong Chuk Hang gallery. Inspired by Indonesian culture, the gallery brings artworks from Indonesia to Hong Kong, while also focusing on 'spiritual and inspiring' pieces from other contemporary talents around the world.
Stop 4: Blindspot Gallery
One of the largest art spaces in Hong Kong, Blindspot Gallery represents and celebrates emerging and established artists locally and from around the region, with a primary focus on contemporary photography, and image-based works, and various mediums.
Stop 5: Ben Brown Fine Arts
Residing inside The Factory at Wong Chuk Hang, Ben Brown Fine Arts has consistently welcomed an impressive list of top-end artists and solo exhibitions from the likes of Ron Arad, Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne, and Vik Muniz. With a special focus on works by contemporary talents and 20th-century masters, the gallery is perfect for those with a sophisticated taste for art. Before visiting the gallery, don’t forget to snap a pic of the comic strip mural that wraps around the building and car park on the ground floor. The bold yellow and white colours will make a superb backdrop to any photo.
Stop 6: Mirth
This cheerful lifestyle store is your one-stop-shop for artsy home essentials and accessories. Mirth sells furniture, clothing, toys, books, and all kinds of colourful knick-knacks. It’s also a great place to hunt for unique pieces by emerging and established designers from all corners of the world. For a statement art piece, check out the store’s nifty Hong Kong-inspired collection with art prints, home-sized neon lights, toys, and more.
Stop 7: Artjamming
Feeling inspired by all the art you’ve been seeing? Then hop on over to Artjamming and get those creative juices flowing at their 2,000sq ft studio space. Whether you want to search for your inner Picasso, need to let off some steam, or just simply enjoy getting your hands dirty, Artjamming has got you covered. All necessary equipment and paints will be provided, so all you need to do is book a session and choose between painting on a canvas, a tote bag, or a white t-shirt. There’s also a small garden terrace where you can relax and admire the masterpiece (or sloppy mess) that you’ve just created.
Stop 8: E Tat Factory Building
Aside from art galleries, numerous murals can be found around the neighbourhood of Wong Chuk Hang thanks to the 2017 edition of the HKWalls festival. Turning building facades into blank canvases for street artists, the festival welcomed creative talents such as Spanish artist Spok, who created an eye-catching large-scale mural on the side of E Tat Factory Building. The mural featuring a giant dragon and snake hybrid entangling a hand, injects a bold and dramatic energy into the neighbourhood.
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