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Unexpected art encounters in Hong Kong

  • Written by Time Out Hong Kong, Localiiz and Photoblog
ARTLANE in Sai Ying Pun is covered by vibrant and colourful street art.

Home to a wealth of world-class art galleries and exhibitions, Hong Kong is without a doubt one of Asia’s leading art and cultural hubs, but that doesn’t mean art has to stay within four walls. From urban parts of town to the wild countryside, we’re surrounded by an abundance of unique art experiences — be it outdoor art that blends seamlessly with nature or hidden street art unbeknownst to even daily commuters. So, step outside (or just look up from your screen), explore, and discover the city’s art hubs and incredible urban art. 

Urban and street art

Street art abounds in Hong Kong

Take a walk through the streets of Hong Kong, and you’ll discover a multitude of artworks and workshops hidden in every corner and alley. These artistic gems and creative spaces are scattered throughout the city, urging passers-by to stop and take a break from their busy lives.

Tai Nan Street is home to a mix of traditional leather shops and exciting art spaces

Sham Shui Po: Tai Nan Street 

Sham Shui Po was filled with factories and workshops during Hong Kong’s manufacturing era, but has since transformed into an artistic community teeming with cultural and creative spaces. Tai Nan Street, in particular, is a bustling hub of exciting hybrid concepts and artist-led initiatives. Head to Mudheytong Gallery for a pottery class and learn about the craftsmanship of ceramic arts, or discover the neighbourhood’s history as a textile manufacturing hub through a leather-crafting class at Alri Star Leather Factory, one of several shops in the area that specialise in handcrafted leather goods. Savon Workshop, meanwhile, peddles all-natural handmade soaps and DIY classes. Browse to your heart’s delight at Muze Pens, where the range of fountain pens and coloured inks may just inspire you to take up calligraphy.

A large-scale wall mural at ARTLANE

Sai Ying Pun: ARTLANE

Located in Sai Ying Pun, ARTLANE is a street art project that has successfully revitalised old buildings with colourful murals by local and international artists. As you stroll through Ki Ling Lane, Shek Chan Lane and Chung Ching Street, eye-catching large-scale murals that transform the walls of the old buildings into open-air galleries will take your breath away.   

The Old Townhouses mural on Graham Street Mural

Central: Hollywood Road and Graham Street Murals 

Hollywood Road is known for its antique shops and contemporary art galleries, but there’s so much more to discover. Take a walk between Central and Sheung Wan; you’ll find a collection of lively, colourful murals that have transformed the walls of the city into an Insta-worthy canvas. One local favourite is the mural of old townhouses by graffiti artist Alex Croft, which sits at the intersection of Graham Street and Hollywood Road, on the wall outside G.O.D.’s shop. Other striking murals include the star-studded Hollywood piece featuring big names like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra at Hotel Madera Hollywood; and the vibrant mural which combines pattern and realism at the intersection of Peel Street and Hollywood Road. This is one of the busier streets in Hong Kong, so do keep an eye out for the traffic when you’re taking selfies with the murals.

Various locations: Manhole covers

Located across various districts in Hong Kong, numerous manhole covers have been transformed into colourful art pieces! Each design reflects the landmarks and unique features of its location, from the iconic Star Ferry at the Central Ferry Pier, to the graceful white egrets on Tsuen Nam Road outside the Tai Wai MTR, and the beloved Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree at Lam Tsuen Heung Kung Sho Road in Tai Po. Other locations featuring these artistic manhole covers include Tai O, Kai Tak River, Lei Yue Mun, Tsui Ping River Promenade, Cha Kwo Ling Promenade, and Lo Tak Court in Tsuen Wan.

Arts in the wild

Graffiti artworks on islands in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the exhibition of artworks goes beyond the confines of urban areas. Whether you’re on a beach, an island, or a walking trail in the countryside, get ready to stumble upon amazing art pieces.

Paintings created by local artist trio Chemiyan on display in Ha Pak Nai

Yuen Long: Ha Pak Nai

Ha Pak Nai’s gorgeous sunsets are nature’s artworks, but did you know there are also actual art pieces hidden around the coastal area? Discover colourful wooden cabins at App Store Cafe & Barbecue and snap a photo in front of the large butterfly wing mural on the patio. You can also find 19 stunning paintings along Nim Wan Road created by Chemiyan, a local artist trio formed by three sisters. Painted on recycled insulation boards, the paintings capture Ha Pak Nai’s beautiful scenery and wildlife to promote nature conservation in the area.

A former leather factory in Peng Chau has transformed into a whimsical art space

Peng Chau: Leather Factory My Secret Garden

Tucked away along Wing On Street on Peng Chau lies a dark alleyway with a signboard bearing the words ‘Leather Factory My Secret Garden’. The alleyway, marked by a contrasting collection of colourful, mismatched ornaments, leads to a hidden public art space like no other — a former leather factory and a Grade 3 cultural monument site, which has been revitalised into a surreal artsy junkyard. Filled with sculptures and art installations made from unwanted waste materials — think hanging chandeliers, scrap iron robots and even a chair-stacked tower — the seemingly chaotic garden injects vibrancy into the peaceful island.

Sai Kung Hoi’s beautiful islands give home to the Sai Kung Hoi Arts Festival

Sai Kung: Sai Kung Hoi Arts Festival

Crowned as ‘Hong Kong’s back garden’, Sai Kung’s breathtaking scenery offers the perfect backdrop for the Sai Kung Hoi Arts Festival, a three-year art project organised by the Tourism Commission and supported by Hong Kong Geopark. Art lovers can experience the chill island vibes and local Hakka culture, all the while getting in touch with nature by visiting a collection of artworks dotting the four islands in Sai Kung: Yim Tin Tsai, Sharp Island, Kau Sai Chau, and High Island. Check the official website for the latest information to plan your trip.

Cool art hubs

Many art pieces are housed in historical buildings

Immerse yourself in history and culture at these heritage buildings — they’ve transformed into cool, modern art hubs that offer unique exhibitions and programmes. 

Oi! is located in a historical building in North Point

North Point: Oi!

Established under the aegis of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Oi! is a dynamic platform where young artists can experiment and showcase their art to the public. Housed inside a Grade 2 historic building that was once the clubhouse of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, the art hub supports the city’s emerging talents and frequently hosts exhibitions and workshops.

The Asia Society Hong Kong Center offers a sense of tranquillity in the heart of the city

Admiralty: Asia Society Hong Kong Center

Asia Society Hong Kong Center is a modern site with seamlessly integrated heritage structures. Designed by husband-and-wife team Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the Former Explosives Magazine of the Old Victoria Barracks gives way to four mid-19th-century British military buildings, which have been carefully restored and adapted into art and culture hubs to offer an array of art exhibitions, live performances, talks and film screenings.

The Cattle Depot Artist Village is renowned for its signature red brick buildings

To Kwa Wan: Cattle Depot Artist Village

Nestled in the sleepy neighbourhood of Ma Tau Kok, Cattle Depot Artist Village is one of Hong Kong’s precious artistic hubs. Notable for its red brick buildings, the site was formerly a quarantine base and slaughterhouse before it was converted into a local art hub in 2001. Free for the public to enter, the village is home to a community of local artists and art organisations, including Videotage, arguably one of the most prominent new media art groups in Hong Kong.

Information in this article is subject to change without advance notice. Please contact the relevant product or service providers for enquiries.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board disclaims any liability as to the quality or fitness for purpose of third party products and services; and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein.

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