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Hong Kong Arts Go International  Participation in Two Arts Extravaganzas in Germany and Korea Attracts World Attention

To promote Hong Kong arts and encourage overseas exchange and collaboration, Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) led two delegations formed by local arts groups and arts practitioners to participate in the internationale tanzmesse nrw (Tanzmesse) in Düsseldorf, Germany and the Gwangju Biennale in Korea respectively during August and September 2016, showcasing the outstanding performances and artworks of local artists. Local arts groups and artists were invited to perform and exhibit their works in the two events, in which Hong Kong arts were highly appreciated by the international arts circle.

Grand Debut of Six Original Hong Kong Works in Tanzmesse
Between 31 August and 3 September, HKADC led a delegation of 60 Hong Kong contemporary dance artists and arts administrators to participate in Tanzmesse for the first time. Themed “Hong Kong Spins”, the delegation showcased the plurality and liveliness of Hong Kong contemporary dance, making use of the chance to let Hong Kong dance spin onto the international stage. The participation enabled Hong Kong’s dance circle to have more exchange and strengthen their communication with their overseas counterparts, as well as to seek more opportunities for Hong Kong contemporary dance artists to present their creativity to international audience.

Tanzmesse is an arts event specially organised for contemporary dance. Its rich and diverse programme included the most representative dance exhibition, talks, and different forms of performances, attracting more than 1,600 persons this year. In order to widen the horizons of more Hong Kong contemporary dance artists and help them to extend their networks, the delegation comprised 15 representatives of HKADC funded small and medium-sized dance groups and independent choreographers. As the participants took part in the international contemporary dance market directly, Tanzmesse attendants could get in touch with talents of the Hong Kong contemporary dance sector at the same time.

Speaking at the welcome lunch on 1 September, HKADC’s Chairman Dr Wong Ying-wai, Wilfred pointed out that, through participating in Tanzmesse, Hong Kong dance artists could establish connections with their overseas counterparts and bring excellent Hong Kong dance works to the international stage. Besides the Hong Kong delegation, more than 30 dance practitioners from the world attended the welcome lunch.

An HKADC booth was set up in the Tanzmesse’s exhibition from 1 to 3 September to introduce Hong Kong’s outstanding dance artists and their creation to international festival directors, choreographers, producers and impresarios. The HKADC booth also served as an excellent platform for Hong Kong artists to have dialogues with international peers and associates and networks.

The HKADC supported six young choreographers to showcase in Tanzmesse, including Chen Kai, Yang Hao, Victor Fung, Chloe Wong, Ivanhoe Lam and Hugh Cho, to stage their works in the “Performance Programme” and “Open Studio” at Tanzmesse 2016. The six original works were selected from hundreds of application received by Tanzmesse to be included in the event’s prgoramme. The live performances presented the exemplary creation of Hong Kong dance artists to the international professionals.

One of the invited young choreographers who took part in “Open Studio”, Ivanhoe Lam, said: “Participating in Tanzmesse enabled me to have the opportunity to reflect on my creative direction and enhance my work. I could let people understand my dance and one of the dimensions of myself. I met many people and established some connections in the event. Like sowing seeds, I believe I can see the fruits when the time is ripe.”

Funded by HKADC, the Artistic Director of Passoverdance, Chow Pui-wan, Pewan and independent choreographer and dancer, Tsui Yik-chit, Ivy, participated in a large-scale dance expo for the first time. Chow said: “In the three days of the expo, I had the opportunity to meet with many overseas arts festival managers, producers, and organisers. I wish to attract chances of collaboration so that I can bring my group to perform abroad.” Tsui also commented: “I met different artists, arts practitioners and people of different positions in this dance expo. I actively contacted venues there to look for opportunities of artist-in-residence programmes.”

Artist Annie Wan Participated in Gwangju Biennale with “Every Day A Rainbow”
To promote the development of the visual arts sector and to connect local arts practitioners with their overseas counterparts, HKADC led a delegation of 40 members formed by local visual arts practitioners for the first time to attend the Gwangju Biennale 2016 held in Gwangju, Korea, from 31 August to 3 September 2016.

Gwangju Biennale is one of the most important biennales in the international contemporary art world. In this edition, with the theme of “The Eighth Climate (What does art do?)”, local ceramic artist Wan Lai-kuen, Annie, was invited to represent Hong Kong as one of the 101 participating artists from the world. Wan Lai-kuen resided in Gwangju from July to August for the creation of her artwork, “Every Day A Rainbow”. Inspired by the vibrant colours of the rainbow, her work was a continuation of her previous work, “The Rainbow” (2006).

Wan said: “I am grateful for HKADC’s support for my participation, which let me have adequate resources and time for my exhibit creation. I can also present my artwork in a larger scale.” Besides exhibiting at the entrance to the Biennale’s exhibition hall, Wan also tried to extend the boundaries of artistic creations by making ceramic works based on the commodities she bought in Gwangju and Hong Kong and displaying them in the communal shops near the exhibition hall. The dislocation of artworks and commodities prompted reflections on the relationship between the identities of the artist and the consumer, responding to the theme of this year’s Biennale.

Chairman of HKADC’s Visual Arts Group, Chan Kam-shing, Chris said that it was the first time for HKADC to lead a delegation of Hong Kong visual arts practitioners to attend the Gwangju Biennale. It was hoped that through encouraging the exchange between Hong Kong artists and their overseas counterparts, an international network could be built for attracting more opportunities of collaboration so as to promote long-term development of the local visual arts sector.

Chairman of Gwangju Biennale Foundation, Prof Yangwoo Park, commented that it was a pleasure to have meaningful communication with Hong Kong visual arts practitioners in the welcome brunch. He also thanked HKADC and artist Wan Lai-kuen, Anne, for their participation in the Biennale, and expressed his wish for more opportunities of exchange and collaboration with the Hong Kong arts circle in the future.

Besides supporting Wan’s exhibition, HKADC also subsidised 16 local visual arts practitioners, including visual artists, curators, and arts critics, to attend the Biennale. HKADC hosted the “Connect Hong Kong Welcome Brunch” on 1 September, which was attended by representatives from Gwangju Biennale Foundation, Gwangju Biennale 2016 curatorial team, Gwangju Cultural Foundation and Gwangju International Center, as well as more than 60 visual arts practitioners from all over the world.

Arts advisor of HKADC, Prof Kao May-ching, also took part in the delegation to the Gwangju Biennale. She pointed out: “This trip to the Gwangju Biennale is an invaluable chance for local arts practitioners to establish overseas connections. I believe this will benefit them greatly. I hope HKADC will participate in more overseas visual arts activities in the future.”

One of the members of the Gwangju Biennale delegation funded by HKADC, Char Ying-lam, Evelyn, said: “The Gwangju trip provided me with more opportunities to get in contact with local and Korean arts practitioners. It also enriched my knowledge of Korea’s arts development. I hope there will be chances to take part in overseas collaboration in the future.” Another delegate, visual artist Man Ching-ying, Phoebe, said: “HKADC’s welcome brunch allowed us to get to know many overseas arts practitioners. The publicity materials produced with the subsidy of HKADC also helped us to have direct and convenient exchanges with otherparticipants.”

“Every Day A Rainbow” - Wan Lai-kuen, Annie
Date: 2 September to 6 November 2016
Opening Hours: 9:30am to 5:30pm
Venue: Near the exit of the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall, 111, Biennale Road, Buk-gu, Gwangju, Korea

By taking part in these arts events, HKADC hopes to establish global network with overseas arts institutions, explore overseas markets, and accumulate experience in external promotion.