Hong Kong’s Arts Scene
By Charlotte Flach - 5 minute read
Hong Kong is quickly becoming Asia Pacific’s go-to art hub, with its street art, world-class museums and a host of festivals.
Why choose Hong Kong for art?
Over the past decade, Hong Kong has evolved into one of the biggest art scenes in the world. Its flagship events include the annual Art Basel and Art Central, while cultural hubs such as H Queens, Tai Kwun and PMQ are becoming popular intersections between art, food and lifestyle.
Museums and galleries
Dotted among Hong Kong’s high-rises, a plethora of museums capture remnants of ancient Chinese dynasties and the contemporary works of rising local artists.
The Hong Kong Museum of Art on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront showcases local creativity as well as China’s long cultural legacy. Its collection includes antiquities dating back to the Neolithic period, and works by seminal artists such as Wu Guanzhong, who is widely recognised as the founder of Modern Chinese paintings.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre sets the stage for music, dance and theatrical performances. The Cultural Centre is home to the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Hong Kong Ballet.
Even some of Hong Kong’s hotels are packed full of creativity. The Muse at Jordan’s Hotel Stage dedicates a space to both local and international artists, and Tung Nam Lou Art Hotel in Yau Ma Tei has artistic elements integrated into its interior design.
A popular street art hotspot is Sai Ying Pun’s ARTLANE, where local and international creatives have turned the building walls of Ki Ling Lane and Chung Ching Street into multicoloured works of art.
For the best holiday snaps, head to 46 Graham Street / 48 Hollywood Road, probably the most photographed street art in the city. Visitors will find local graffiti artist Alex Croft’s colourful mural depicting the iconic tong lau tenement buildings.
Recommend the annual HKWALLS Festival, which celebrates art as the city’s lifeblood, where artists come together to take over a different neighbourhood every year to create new public works of art.
Neon signs are also recognised as an art form in the city. Hotspots for seeing how neon signs are shaping the art scene can be found at Temple Street Market, Tung Choi Street in Mong Kok and Lockhart Road in Wan Chai.
There are cultural hubs aplenty throughout the city. Tai Kwun, the former Central Police Station compound, blends contemporary art and heritage with a full programme of events, plus shopping and dining venues onsite.
Fashion, design studios, pop-ups and restaurants abound at PMQ, home to over 100 young entrepreneurs. Visitors can take in art, buy luxury goods, join a cooking class and sample sake, all under one roof.
At the intersection of the historical Pottinger Street and the bustling Queen’s Road Central, the award-winning H Queen’s building presides over the cultural heart of the city. Non-traditional exhibition spaces join dining concepts in this art and lifestyle hub.
Landmark revitalisation project The Mills offers experiential retail alongside a non-profit cultural institution. Visitors can explore Hong Kong’s story, where textile industry themes are interwoven with innovation, culture, and learning.
Historic slaughterhouse Cattle Depot Artist Village has grown from a cluster of small art studios into a home for those displaced from the short-lived but vibrant Oil Street art colony in North Point. Creatives like Frog King, an eccentric performance artist known for his ornate amphibian costume, now call it home.
West Kowloon Cultural District
An ever-evolving work-in-progress, West Kowloon Cultural District will establish one of the world’s largest cultural quarters on the harbour front.
Travellers can skip over to M+, the city’s brand new global museum of contemporary visual culture. Even the building is cutting-edge: designed by Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, the museum showcases visual art, design and architecture, and moving images from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Xiqu Centre, which opened in 2019, is dedicated to the preservation of the art of Chinese traditional theatre including Hong Kong’s unique form of Cantonese Opera. With its boundary-pushing collaboration, Freespace offers multi-genre performances and events, which aim to promote a new way of seeing and experiencing performance art.
The new Hong Kong Palace Museum opening in 2022, will display Chinese art and culture artefacts from the imperial collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing. In 2023, the Lyric Theatre will debut, showcasing the best of Hong Kong and international dance and theatre.
Art-inspired restaurants and bar
If a day of art just isn’t enough, evenings can also be spent sipping cocktails in scenic surroundings. There’s the hip Ping Pong 129, a self-described Spanish gin and tonic experience. Located in Sai Ying Pun, its spacious urban interiors host both traditional and racy art pieces against a backdrop of specialty drinks.
For food, Ami and Wood Ear is a concept restaurant with elegant yet cosy interiors. Michelin-starred restaurant Duddell’s provides a bright and colourful alternative, alongside a vibrant art programme of lectures, talks, screenings and exhibitions.
Interior design and architecture take centre stage at Mott 32, housed inside a former bank vault, one of its many accolades being Asia’s Top 100 Restaurants 2020 on Opinionated About Dining’s list. Also worth a visit is Sevva, to check out its walls which are adorned with a special commission by renowned San Francisco fashion illustrator, Gladys Perint Palmer.
Self-guided art tours
A range of self-guided tours celebrate the diversity of Hong Kong’s art scene. Arts by the Harbour offers a tour of art attractions along the iconic Victoria Harbour, with its innovative art institutions, architectural gems, and international art events.
Meanwhile, the Old Town Central tour takes in experimental stage performances held inside a repurposed depot, world-class art exhibitions and edgy graffiti hidden down small alleys.