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Affordable Art Fair (21/3 – 23/3)

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Launched in London in 1999, there are now 16 Fairs held annually around the world in cities including Singapore, New York, Milan and Hong Kong.

At one time, art in Hong Kong was widely thought to be something that belonged only in the mansions of the extremely wealthy or in the investment portfolios of the super rich.

But these days, art in all its forms is reaching out beyond the city’s museums and the galleries of Central and Sheung Wan and into all parts of local life from the shopping malls to the political scene.

On the Beach (2013), Ayline Olukman, mixed media, 30 x 30cm, HKD7,000 (Photo courtesy: Aperture Contemporary)

“The public in HK is paying more interest to artistic activity, particularly after the discussions and debate around the West Kolwoon Cultural project,” says Eric Leung Shiu Kee, curator of the Young Talent Hong Kong Exhibition at the 2104 Affordable Art Fair, Hong Kong. “And there are a lot of commercial institutions involved in activities like K11 Art Mall.”

For the second consecutive year the Affordable Art Fair will be seeking to democratise art ownership in Hong Kong. Every piece exhibited will be priced between HK$1,000 and HK$100,000.

Kowloon (2012), MO, Acrylic, 100x80cm, HKD 25,000 (Photo courtesy: Aperture Contemporary)

“I think most of those coming to the Affordable Art Fair are looking to buy something for their home,” says Leung. “They enjoy and love the artwork.”

Launched in London in 1999, there are now 16 Fairs held annually around the world in cities including Singapore, New York and Milan.

Will Ramsay, founder of Affordable Art Fair, is looking forward to this year’s event in Hong Kong. “Our first Fair in Hong Kong was a great success both for galleries and their artists with over 16,500 visitors enjoying the fun atmosphere and over HK$26 million in art sales. This year we want to continue to break down any intimidation surrounding art and encourage people to live with art.”

Sign of Life (2011), Edition 2, Keyee Lam, Bronze, 38x60x35cm, HKD 55,000 (Photo courtesy: Neuberg Gallery)

The 2014 Fair will feature the work of more than 1,000 artists from around the world, with over 120 local and international galleries represented - 60 per cent of which are from Asia, including 30 per cent from Hong Kong. The number of local galleries participating is nearly double the figure from last year.

The Fair will once again feature a Young Talent Hong Kong Exhibition, with the work of 11 up-and-coming young local artists on show. All their pieces will be priced below HK$50,000 and there will be more of these works to see and buy.

Silence (2013), Deng Xianxian, Chinese ink and colours on rice paper, 45x60cm, HKD 100,000 (Photo courtesy: Art Projects Gallery)

“The Art Fair is providing a bigger space for local young artists this year and I hope this will attract more local collectors,” Leung explains. He also points out that the work of these artists increasingly has more of a local flavour. “Even young artists going into the commercial field and producing work in different media that is cleaner and more decorative now usually will produce something with a local context or cultural context.”

While surviving, and finding the time to work and develop, is never easy for young artists anywhere in the world, Leung says that in the last few years it has become a little less difficult in Hong Kong. “There are an increasing number of opportunities for local artists to show in local galleries, and more and more local galleries are willing to represent or exhibit their work.”

Under the Sea (2011), Jiang Shan, pencil, colour in digital, giclee print on archival paper, 32x57cm, HKD 3,300 (Photo courtesy: Art Projects Gallery)

Alongside the exhibition, the Fair is also staging a seminar at which artists will be invited to discuss how they survive and maintain their careers in Hong Kong.

There’s also a number of other activities taking place in the exhibition hall across the three days.

A line-up of artists, curators and collectors are passing on background information and tips in a series of Art Talks, while local artists are running a Creative Workshop for visitors of all ages.

There is also a Children’s Art Studio offering a range of activities for children aged between two and eight.

The Affordable Art Fair, Hong Kong runs at the Convention and Exhibition Centre from March 21st to 23rd.

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