Often dismissed as a shopping-and-dining city that views culture with disdain, Hong Kong is seeking to emphasize its appreciation of history and the arts. An annual contemporary art fair has been launched, and the long-running Hong Kong Arts Festival draws an eclectic mix of creative talents.
But as well as importing global performers, Hong Kong is reassessing its own cultural and historic identity. Emerging from its recent slumber is the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Several guest curators have breathed new artistic life into this long-neglected museum – a space always imbued with potential.
The Open Dialogues contemporary art series presaged bolder, more conceptual shows. Somewhat more cerebral is the often-overlooked University Museum & Art Gallery, which takes an intellectual but accessible approach to ancient Chinese art and archaeology.
Though not usually a topic to lure visitors, urban planning is critical to Hong Kong’s future vision – especially as land reclamation alters the shape of its shoreline. The Hong Kong Planning & Infrastructure Exhibition Gallery offers a glimpse, via videos, models, maps, and interactive exhibits, of the city of tomorrow.
Going back in time, the Museum of Coastal Defence, located in a 19th-century former British fort, explores Hong Kong’s military past.
Hong Kong Museum of Art Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon;
Hong Kong Planning & Infrastructure Exhibition Gallery 3 Edinburgh Place, Central;
Museum of Coastal Defence Shau Kei Wan, Eastern District;
University Museum & Art Gallery Pok Fu Lam, Central;