• When visiting Hong Kong during the National Day Golden Week holidays, choose less busy boundary control points to cross the border with ease. Click here to check the passenger traffic at each control point, or download the Hong Kong Immigration Department app to check the estimated queuing situation at each land boundary control point. 

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Arts in HK: Hong Kong-inspired artistic collaborations

  • Written by Hypebeast
Egg Tarts by illustrators Don Mak and Ilya Milstein

What is Hong Kong like in the eyes of locals and visitors from different parts of the world? As part of Arts in Hong Kong 2023, the Hong Kong Tourism Board has connected eight local and international artists to depict Hong Kong’s cityscapes in different art forms, from illustration and craft to street art and digital art. They paired up to create four new cross-disciplinary artworks by blending multicultural elements with art and technology. Some of the artists also created the Arts in HK x CASETiFY Collection. Read on to find out more about these East-meets-West, old-meets-new collaborations!

Egg Tart — illustration

Don Mak (Hong Kong) x Ilya Milstein (Australia)

“This work is a love letter to one city, co-written by two authors — one of whom is a native who knows the city like the back of their hand; the other is a tourist who barely knows it at all,” says USA-based, Australian illustrator Ilya Milstein on his collaboration with renowned Hong Kong artist Don Mak.

Egg Tart conveys the colourful, energetic vigour of Hong Kong by depicting pedestrians wandering the city — from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, passing iconic landmarks such as Jardine House, Lui Seng Chung and Chungking Mansions, as well as buses, ferries and retro caravans. All of these contribute to a dynamic picture of the city’s diverse cultural and architectural landscapes.

Don Mak, an illustrator born and bred in Hong Kong, often bases his work on the metropolis’ cityscape. His illustrations, just like those of Milstein, are rich in details and able to tell fascinating stories of people and places. This time, Mak drew inspiration from everyday life, whereas Milstein illustrated tourists and European-style architecture and coloured the streets based on his impressions of Hong Kong. The mix of perspectives and styles is reflected in the work’s title, Egg Tart, a pastry with origins and cultural meaning in both Hong Kong and the West.

Energetic Hong Kong Merry-Go-Round — crafts

Martina Tso of Yuet Tung China Works (Hong Kong) x Katsumi Takeoka (Japan)

The most surprising artistic collaborations are those that transcend disciplines — just like the collaboration between Martina Tso, fourth-generation descendant of Guangcai porcelain factory Yuet Tung China Works, and Japanese embroidery artist Katsumi Takeoka. They may use different mediums, but their works are both authentic and warm, and in a way, embody Hong Kong’s cultural sensibilities.

For this project, the artists compare the experience of travellers visiting Hong Kong to a ride on the merry-go-round: they can easily take in the sights and sounds of the city from different angles. Takeoka used a punch needle and colourful threads to conjure up old Hong Kong in the form of layered embroidery. Meanwhile, Tso hand-painted the local cityscape — ancient buildings, tea restaurants, pawn shops, Victoria Harbour — and a green dragon on a traditional Gaungcai bowl, capturing the city’s vibrant side while shining a spotlight on traditional crafts and heritage. The result is a flamboyant display of porcelain tableware and embroidery shooting out from the bowl, evoking the fireworks over Victoria Harbour.

Guangcai used to be a prominent export craft; today, it’s been recognised as an intangible cultural heritage of Hong Kong. Founded over 90 years ago, Yuet Tung China Works was the city’s first porcelain factory that produces Guangcai porcelain and porcelain plates painted by artists, thus playing an important role in cultural exchange. Takeoka, on the other hand, has a deep love for nostalgic objects of old Hong Kong, and has held multiple Hong Kong-themed exhibitions in Japan. This collaboration is a perfect blend of traditional and modern elements, a masterpiece of the interplay between the old and the new.

The Adventurous City by street artists Bao Ho and Bond Truluv

The Adventurous City — street art

Bao Ho (Hong Kong) x Bond Truluv (Germany)

From Tai Nan Street in Sham Shui Po to the West Kowloon Cultural District, from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront to Poho in Sheung Wan, the city is full of interesting aesthetics that blend the East and the West. It was this cultural diversity that inspired the collaboration between Hong Kong graffiti artist Bao Ho and German multimedia artist Bond Truluv.

Passionate about creating surreal cartoon worlds with graffiti, Ho took this opportunity to introduce Hong Kong to friends overseas by drawing her favourite shop cats and street features, as well as iconic local elements like tong laus (typical tenement buildings in Hong Kong), traditional signboards, dai pai dongs (open-air food stalls) and lion dancers. Then, Bond Truluv, the first graffiti artist to incorporate augmented reality (AR) animations into his work, brought these characters to life for an interactive art experience.

H→K — digital art

Henry Chu (Hong Kong) x Zach Lieberman (USA)

For this creative collaboration, new media artist Henry Chu took more than 10,000 photographs of Hong Kong, from the streets to the suburbs, and from day to night. He used artificial intelligence (AI) technology to convert them into images, then Zach Lieberman, also a new media artist, re-edited the images through digitised image processing. The piece turns the movement and energy of familiar scenery into a new artistic expression, one that fuses art and technology to make the invisible visible.

Keen to explore the relationship between technology and art, Chu specialises in creating generative and interactive works through programming, often with themes related to music, flowers and data. Lieberman is dedicated to building experimental drawing and animation tools, with specialisation in design, computer programming, and developing interactive, participatory environments. What kind of unique visual experiences would the duo bring?

As part of Arts in Hong Kong 2023, the four cross-disciplinary artworks were on display at the ‘Arts in HK café’ at Art Central from 22 to 25 March 2023, bringing visitors a unique cafe and gallery experience with an artsy taste of Hong Kong.

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Arts in HK x CASETiFY Collection

Now you can also own a piece of art as you explore the city with your phone in hand. Introducing the Arts in HK x CASETiFY Collection, a unique collection of phone cases designed by six of the artists in their own styles as part of the project. Each time you pick up your phone to say ‘hello’ to someone, you’re also greeting the city’s rich and colourful cultural landscapes as each design is a creative expression of the artist’s impression of Hong Kong. Take a closer look at each unique phone case and bring home your favourite design, here!

F10W3R & U CASETiFY phone case by Henry Chu
Henry Chu (Hong Kong)
F10W3R & U

Chu’s iconic floral motif is immediately recognisable on this phone case, which draws inspiration from Hong Kong’s cityscape and cyberpunk elements. Click here for details.

Ha ‘Lung’ Hong Kong! CASETiFY phone case by Martina Tso
Martina Tso of Yuet Tung China Works (Hong Kong)
Ha ‘Lung’ Hong Kong!

Ha ‘Lung’ is a pun for ‘hello’ in Cantonese. The second character, lung, means ‘dragon’, a motif that takes centre stage in this beautiful phone case design. The artist also uses typical patterns of Guangcai porcelain to pay homage to the traditional craft. Click here for details. 

Bao Street CASETiFY phone case by Bao Ho
Bao Ho (Hong Kong)
Bao Street

Like a street mural, this colourful phone case design combines the artist’s signature elements with street art and Hong Kong’s living culture — think iconic local dishes such as dim sum and different cultural landmarks. Click here for details. 

Hong Kong Treasure Box CASETiFY phone case by Katsumi Takeoka
Katsumi Takeoka (Japan)
Hong Kong Treasure Box

A Hong Kong’s super fan herself, Takeoka puts her favourite kawaii (cute) and vibrant elements of the city into this ‘treasure box’ design. Click here for details. 

Lucky me, lucky you CASETiFY phone case by Bond Truluv
Bond Truluv (Germany)
Lucky me, lucky you

The ‘lucky cat’ brings joy to everyone he waves at — and he’s waving to you from this stylish phone case! The design also references Hong Kong’s urban architecture and the classic blue-and-red pattern. Click here for details. 

Light Field CASETiFY phone case by Zach Lieberman
Zach Lieberman (USA)
Light Field

Inspired by Hong Kong’s neon lights, the artist translates the tremendous energy of the city into a grid of lights and colours on this sleek phone case. Click here for details. 

Can’t wait to get your hand on one of these fabulous phone cases? Click here to order yours now!

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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