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Arts and Culture for Expats in Hong Kong

Submitted: July 2013

Hong Kong’s culture spans a wide range including performing arts, including drama, dance, music and theatre throughout the year. Highlights include international and thematic art festivals and Cantonese Opera. Visual art is also made available with both local and international artwork on displays at its numerous museums and galleries. If you are an art enthusiast, you are very likely to enjoy your assignment in Hong Kong.

For visual art, Hong Kong is the home of many galleries and display areas such as the Hong Kong Visual Art Centre (www.lcsd.gov.hk) with well-equipped studios for artists practising in the fields of sculpture, printmaking and ceramics. This centre also showcases the work of local artists. If you want to admire local artwork, the Hong Kong Museum of Art showcases more than 15,000 pieces. (Read more at: https://www.discoverhongkong.com/us/see-do/arts-performance/arts-museums/hong-kong-museum-of-art.jsp). Additionally there are the Hong Kong Film Archives, the Hong Kong Arts Centre and Art Museums at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and The University of Hong Kong respectively.

Hong Kong hosts many art and cultural festivals annually. The most famous being the Arts Basel which ushers in numerous modern and contemporary art events annually, and is considered the region’s largest art fair. This event has cemented Hong Kong’s place on the international art calendar, making it now the world’s third largest auction market after New York and London. Whether you have a novice appreciation or long-time love for art, a penny or a million to spend, taste for Chinese abstract expressionism or American pop art, there are plenty opportunities to look, learn and purchase during this event. More information on this event can be obtained via the following link - https://www.artbasel.com/en/Hong-Kong. Additionally, some popular cultural and art festivals include:

Dragon Boat Festival (Tuen Ng) – this occurs each spring with races in wooden vessels all over the town. The biggest are in Stanley and Aberdeen Harbours. It is one of the oldest Cantonese Festival which is held in honour of Chinese hero, Ch’u Yuen. More information: www.dragonboat.org.hk.

Hong Kong Arts Festival – this is a popular festival during spring which features music, opera, dance, theatre and family shows which are originated from all around the world. This is a long-standing show which started more than 30 years ago with the initial intention of attracting tourists, but is now heavily attended by locals.

Hong Kong International Festival – The main event takes place over three weeks each spring, with smaller events throughout the year. It features numerous cultural aspects, particularly local and international films and documentaries throughout the territory.

Many other events are held during the year and the above list is by no means exhaustive. A particularly useful website with a calendar of artistic and cultural events is the Hong Kong is the Cultural Programmes Leisure and Cultural Services Department Website - https://www2.lcsd.gov.hk/cf/search/culture/list.cfm?lang=en&type=date&frm=cal&pageno=1&txtStartDate=7-30-2013&txtEndDate=7-30-2013.

If you are interested in comedy, Hong Kong may prove to be the place for you as it is the home the TakeOut Comedy Club which the first fulltime comedy club in Asia. It offers and fosters both stand-up and improvisational comedy from local English and Cantonese-speaking talent, and has hosted well-known comedians from all over the world.

This article would not be complete without mention of the longest and most significant holiday off all, the Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year). Government offices and business are closed for three days to allow for celebrations, as high-rise buildings, homes and malls are strung with decorations and lights. During this time, many activities take place in the cities such as harbour parades and nightly fireworks. This period is regarded by some as ‘the best time to be in Hong Kong’. More information can be obtained from the Hong Kong Tourism Board by following this link - https://www.discoverhongkong.com/index.jsp.



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