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What to see at Art Central and Art Basel Hong Kong

Concurrent art fairs in our neighbouring SAR make it more than worth your while to jump on a ferry or bus next weekend.




Less than 1 minute Minutes




Less than 1 minute Minutes

If you’re a gallery junkie, March is a great time to visit Hong Kong.

For one, Art Basel is back. From 28 to 30 March, the annual art fair will fill the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai with a dizzying array of artwork from 243 top galleries around the world. The biggest Art Basel in Hong Kong since 2019 promises more than 150 pop-up events to explore across the city, too.

Meanwhile, the concurrent Art Central is also making its return to Hong Kong’s harbourfront. Billing itself as the edgier satellite to Art Basel, Art Central runs from 28 to 31 March and showcases envelope-pushing sculptures, installations, video and performance pieces and more, from 95 different galleries.

[See more: The 34th Macao Arts Festival kicks off in May]

The Hong Kong Arts Festival is also in full swing, making it not just a mere “art week” but an art month for our neighbouring SAR. 

There’s a lot to take in. If you’re travelling from Macao, here are the highlights you can’t miss.

Art Basel

An untitled work by Australian artist Daniel Boyd, who will be participating in Art Basel
An untitled work by Australian artist Daniel Boyd, who will be participating in Art Basel – Photo courtesy of Art Basel


Art Basel’s biggest attractions – figuratively and literally – can be found in a grouping of large-scale projects, both on-site and off-site, known as Encounters. This year, it will feature 16 installations curated by Alexis Glass-Kantor, executive director of Sydney’s Artspace. Eleven of them were made just for this art fair, too.

The centrepiece might be Doan, an installation by First Nations Australian artist Daniel Boyd at the Pacific Place mall in Admiralty – one stop from Art Basel on Hong Kong’s MTR train system.

Meaning darkness in the Yugambeh language, Doan features the signature pointillist approach of Aboriginal art, but renders the dots as moving images, embellishing them with a mirrored stage floor and window treatment that plays with the movement of light throughout the day.

[See more: Shenzhen will host its first ever art week this month]

Beyond Boyd’s installation, Encounters will stage site-specific installations such as Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy by Hong Kong’s Mak2. The exhibition connects two fair booths at their tops to explore themes of duplication, simulation and evolution in the modern world.

Make sure to also check out Friendship First by Singaporean artist Ming Wong. The sculptural installation made for Art Basel Hong Kong turns two hemispheres into projection surfaces for archival footage of table tennis, a simple game turned diplomatic tool by China and the US in the 1970s.

Asia-Pacific art

The section known as Kabinett puts an emphasis on solo projects created by artists from across Asia-Pacific, so much of the work will have a regional appeal. Kabinett this year has gathered a record 33 participating galleries.

Standouts include select pieces from late artists such as South Korean painter Park Seo-Bo, whose work is appearing at Art Basel courtesy of Busan’s Johyun Gallery. Park was a seminal figure in Dansaekhwa, a Korean movement rooted in abstract forms that are built around tactile rather than visual qualities.

[See more: “My work is about love.” US artist Adam Handler on his exhibition at Artelli]

London’s Annely Juda Fine Art will host another can’t-miss exhibition. The gallery is presenting works on paper produced by Russian artist Kasimir Malevich – a key figure in the development of 20th century abstract art – between 1913 and the early 1920s. These will appear alongside pieces from fellow members of the avant-garde, such as Alexander Rodchenko, Alexandra Exter, Naum Gabo, Elena Semenova and Gustav Klucis.

There will be loads of great contemporary pieces on display, too. Look for London-based Hong Konger Cary Kwok’s cheeky ink and acrylic paintings. Kwok’s (often humorous) erotic work explores Queer identity and domestic life, among other themes.

New work

If you like to keep your finger on the pulse of the contemporary art world, be sure to visit the Discoveries section, which gives space to emerging artists to share unique works created for Art Basel.

This year, 22 galleries will participate in Discoveries. These are led by first-time Art Basel participants, such as Japanese gallery Waitingroom, which will display video art from Chiba-based Fuyuhiko Takata that questions established ideas of gender, identity and sexuality.

[See more: The Macao Arts Festival has unveiled a varied outreach programme]

Don’t miss Taiwanese-American artist Antonia Kuo’s “photochemical paintings” – striking pieces she makes by layering chemically altered images and dyes on light sensitive silver gelatin paper.

Brought to Art Basel Hong Kong by Chapter NY, Kuo’s exhibition features these one-of-a-kind pieces as multi-panel wall installations and sculptures set on plinths the artist built herself.

Art Central

Art Central is staged each year as a satellite event to Art Basel Hong Kong
Art Central is staged each year as a satellite event to Art Basel Hong Kong


Yi Tai is Art Central’s hub for large-scale artworks and installations. This year, it features five large-scale artworks, including centrepieces from Kyoto-based Korean artist Sangsun Bae, who uses materials such as rope and ceramics to express the strength and compassion of womanhood, and Czech glass artist Rony Plesl, who casts vivid sculptures that speak to the fleeting nature of life and survival.

For the first time, Art Central’s organisers have commissioned a Hong Kong artist to create an installation for the event. Ho Sin Tung – who graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2008, has exhibited across Asia, and now runs a gym and cultural space called Good Night – will unveil Shadow Boxing when the fair kicks off.

[See more: Top Japanese gallery will open its first offshore branch in Macao, owner says]

The installation draws on her love of martial arts and the discipline required to master them. It also speaks to Art Central’s commitment to uplifting Hong Kong art and culture.


If you want to immerse yourself in art rather than simply ponder it, check out Art Central’s lineup of performances.

Festival curator Enoch Cheng will get truly hands-on with Art-is-here, a series of guerrilla-style picnics-slash-performances that encourage visitors to question whether art fairs must be solely commercial events.

[See more: Japanese literary giant Haruki Murakami accepts an honorary doctorate from MUST]

Meanwhile, Japanese artist Norico Sunayama’s long-running A Sultry World – first staged in 1995 – will finally make its debut in Hong Kong. The performance centres on a woman on a high platform wearing a giant flowing red skirt infused with the scent of lavender. Visitors are invited to walk or crawl beneath the large drapes of fabric, challenging the notions of public and private space.

New work

The appropriately named Neo is a brand-new initiative giving first-year exhibitors a space of their own. Cheng has selected fifteen up-and-coming artists to share their work. There’s no unifying thread other than the fact that all the artists are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with art.

[See more: Here’s a first look at the Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre]

Some, like Korean artist Hansaem Kim, dabble in contemporary fantasy, using computer-animated objects alongside installations filled with gold, stones and jewellery. Others, like Thai artist Jarupatcha Achavasmit, discuss conservation through upcycled canvas woven together with recycled yarn, and fabrics made from plastic bottles, copper powder and stainless steel.

Public Art

Visitors pose for photos at Alex Crofts mural of shophouses in Hong Kong’s SoHo district on 12 January 2018
Visitors pose for photos at Alex Crofts mural of shophouses in Hong Kong’s SoHo district on 12 January 2018 – Photo by MosayMay

Art Basel film sessions

While most Art Basel exhibitions require tickets, some films and panel talks are open to the public.

There will be ten screenings featuring 33 films by and about artists taking place inside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. All are free and open to the public.

[See more: Want to fund your Macao film? Apply now]

You can also visit M+, the art and culture museum located in the West Kowloon Cultural District, to witness a grand display of public art. Yang Fudong’s black-and-white film on Hong Kong architecture will be screened on the façade of the building on 23 March from 3 pm – to 4:30 pm. 

You can register for the film here, or simply catch it from various vantage points along Hong Kong iconic Victoria Harbour: projections on the façade are visible from a long way off.

HK Walls

Hong Kong’s recurring street art festival has left the SAR with some of its most iconic – and Instagrammable – murals. For example, South Korean artist Xeva’s Bruce Lee mural on Tank Lane in Sheung Wan or Hong Kong artist Alex Croft’s famous tenement house mural at the intersection of Graham Street and Hollywood Road in Central.

[See more: GalaxyArt unveils work by muralists and graffiti artists from Macao and Hong Kong]

HK Walls returns for its ninth edition from 23 to 31 March. Artists such as Hong Kong’s Lousy, Tom and Siukins will decorate city structures in the Central and Western districts alongside international artists such as Maye from France, Jaune from Belgium, Michal Škapa (Tron) from the Czech Republic and more.

Eat and Drink

A pho roll from Vietnamese restaurant Chom Chom, which is participating in Art Central’s satellite event, Eat Central
A pho roll from Vietnamese restaurant Chom Chom, which is participating in Art Central’s satellite event, Eat Central

With all this happening in Hong Kong, a city known for its dining and nightlife, it’s no surprise the week-long art extravaganza will have great food and drink pop-ups, too.

Black Sheep Restaurants, one of Hong Kong’s hippest food and beverage groups, is setting up a dining terrace for Art Central. Called Eat Central, the pop-up offers bites from some of the group’s top restaurants, including Vietnamese restaurant Chôm Chôm, Lebanese specialist Maison Libanaise and gelato shop Messina, plus a sneak preview of its next project, Jean-Pierre, which is opening later in 2024.

[See more: Six independent bars in Macao to visit now]

Meanwhile, members-only club Soho House is hosting a pop-up bar decorated with artwork from Hong Kong-based Japanese artist Taxa. 

Don’t miss the pop-up bar at trendy Central izakaya Ronin. Run by the Art Week Tokyo, it features Japanese art on the walls, cocktails and food inspired by contemporary Japanese art, and music playlists curated by Japanese artists.

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