How Sai Wan is raising the profile of Hong Kong’s art scene

theDesk Sai Wan - Art Exhibition
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When you think of Hong Kong, you might not immediately think of a bustling art hub. However, this perception is quickly changing. In recent years the local arts scene has been thriving, driven in part by a hotbed of activity in key neighborhoods around the city. One such area is Sai Wan, or the Western District. Host to an excellent selection of restaurants and cafés which make it a popular destination for many Hongkongers, the hip area is also home to some of the coolest and most unique arts spaces in the city. Tucked away in between unassuming alleyways and twisting streets, one can find a wealth of galleries, artist collectives, and creative ventures. As the neighborhood continues to develop, these spaces are bringing a new and dynamic creative energy to the entire city.

It is this contrast that has appealed the area to many in Hong Kong’s creative community, as well as its accessibility. When compared to Central and SOHO, it affords a lot more space, a more relaxed atmosphere, and fewer crowds. All these ingredients have led to the development of a thriving and dedicated community over the years, with amazing arts spaces, from institutions such as the museum at HKU, to galleries such as Leo Gallery or Bamboo Scenes Gallery, and even a thriving street art scene.

It is also why theDesk chose the neighborhood as not only a hub for co-working, but also as a place to make a strong connection to the arts community. theDesk Sai Wan is an award-winning co-working dedicated to supporting unlocking the power of neighborhoods. Hosting art exhibitions is a natural extension of theDesk’s philosophy of inclusive community, which complements our growing network of members and neighbors. As Cecilia Chan, Chief Community Engagement Officer at theDesk describes, “theDesk is always about connecting people and communities. We hope to connect different artists and art exhibition visitors with our members and neighbors, and at the same time bring more inspirations to our community.

As part of the core mission of the space, we strive to support and advocate for artists by providing a venue for art creatives to showcase their works to the community of members and neighbors, and also create a chance to meet and socialize with new people around their work. What this means is that local artists can use theDesk Sai Wan to host an exhibition, which theDesk will also promote on our own channels and through social media. Not only does this help support and grow the local creative scene by providing new opportunities, but it also helps members grow and become inspired by exposing them to new ideas and introducing them to new members of the creative community.

The space at theDesk Sai Wan is designed to give artists plenty of space to use and transform according to their needs. The inside features multiple floors, and different rooms and zones within that can be customized to best display the work, or better tell the story of the exhibition. This also means artists can have their own dedicated spaces in group shows. In addition to ample wall space, our outdoor terrace gives space to break off and socialize or relax after the exhibition. It’s also very convenient to get to and from the venue, with just a 5 minute walk away from the HKU MTR station.

As artist Fuquan Junze describes, who has held several prior events at theDesk, “Working with theDesk is very comfortable, they really care about everything I need…providing me with a lot of flexibility in how I present my work. Every time I suggest something they are always on board, which is a good surprise.”

As the creative community in the neighborhood continues to grow, we wanted to highlight some examples of past exhibitions which showcase the amazing work of local artists in Sai Wan’s community, and how they define a growing creative identity across Hong Kong:

72 Industries Under Lion Rock Spirit

The exhibition aimed to preserve and restore the memories of the important local and traditional industries: herbal tea shops, shoe-shining booths, rice shops and more that have defined the city, but are becoming less and less visible. Bringing together local artists from Hong Kong and recorded a cultural history of industry in Hong Kong through art, one that is changing and diminishing but not forgotten.

theDesk Sai Wan - Project 72 - Art Work

There’s Nobody Home by Urban Fragments

Particularly relevant to the mix of old and new in the Sai Wan area, this photography exhibition shared photos of abandoned homes and places across three neighborhoods in Hong Kong – Kennedy Town, Sai Ying Pun and Shek Tong Tsui. The exhibition sought to highlight the stories behind historical buildings that were once vibrant and a hub for activity in a neighborhood.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Exhibition subjects also focus on the power of local community. The Pursuit of Happiness was made in joint collaboration with local community center Tree of Life, bringing together six artists and volunteers to showcase drawings and creative work created through their outreach.

Nature’s Wonder: TK Chan Oil Painting Exhibition

Another important exhibition milestone was the solo show of Hong Kong TK Chan. Inspired by the serene beauty of Mother Nature during her studies in Edinburgh, Scotland, her works create a unique and surreal perspective on traditional landscape painting.

For any community it is important to have a hub; a designated space or forum to make connections and to provide room for creative expression to grow. By hosting exhibitions and providing a venue for conversations at theDesk Sai Wan, we hope to inspire our community and our members, and offer a place in which people can come together and inspire each other. We look forward to hosting many more amazing artists in the future!

Don’t miss our latest exhibition, “Bringing People Together” from artist Fuquan Junze, running until 20th September, 9am – 6pm on weekdays. We hope to see you there.

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Contact today. Let’s talk about how theDesk’s inclusive community, and flexible plans and pricing can help support and grow your business in Hong Kong.

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