Header image courtesy of Affordable Art Fair
If you missed Art Basel and Art Central, there is still something artsy for you to enjoy this summer. The annual Affordable Art Fair (AAF) is returning to Hong Kong this August, showcasing original contemporary artworks that don’t hurt your wallet, ranging between $1,000 to $100,000. The ninth edition focuses on local talent, in addition to providing a platform for art enthusiasts to discover emerging Hong Kong artists and creatives.
Promising to be bigger than ever, you might be wondering how to get around the four-day event. We curated this guide to AAF to make it easier for you to navigate around the venue, whether you’re a die-hard returnee or a first-time visitor.
The Affordable Art Fair will be held from 4 to 7 August at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in Wan Chai. The event showcases thousands of contemporary artworks from over 60 hand-picked local and international galleries and exhibitors, 50 of which are from Hong Kong. Visit the website to see the complete list of galleries.
The opening night ticket costs $165, but if you want to go again on another day, you can buy the opening night ticket and AAF pass bundle for $300. For families interested to visit in the morning, the Family Morning ticket costs $150 for a minimum purchase of two tickets and above. General public and concession tickets (for senior citizens and full-time students) cost $120. Click here for more information about the tickets.
There will be two special exhibits this year: Young Talent Hong Kong x Next Gen, which focuses on emerging local artists, and Special Project, comprising large-scale installations of everyday life in Hong Kong. In addition to that, an array of programmes in collaboration with Hong Kong creatives and non-profit organisations will be available to visitors of all ages to experience art in various ways.
This special exhibit puts the spotlight on young and emerging artists in Hong Kong to further their careers by exposing them to a diverse list of galleries, art buyers, and collectors. This year’s theme, curated by Jonathan Jay Lee, is “Welcome to the Zoom.”
On display are artworks by 26 local artists that represent the spectrum of their individuality. Through these pieces, the artists demonstrate their ability to envision and interpret a common narrative through a unique perspective of the city they live in.
One of the highlighted artists is Hong Kong-born creative Steven Ho, whose artwork centres around playful satire on pop culture by combining virtual characters and realistic architecture. His narrative illustrations take on a comic approach.
Hong Kong-based illustrator Kristy Hon is another artist to watch out for. Seeing art as a form of healing, Hon aims to soothe a restless heart through her work. She often feeds into the inner child in all of us, delving into the curiosities of the world around us.
The Special Project is one of the event’s spotlight programmes. Artists Jonathan Jay Lee, Amber Ng, Sophia Hotung, and Yi-hong Hsu specifically created large-scale installations for AAF. The artworks take inspiration from the people and everyday life in Hong Kong.
Taiwanese-American artist Jonathan Jay Lee—who is also curating the Young Talent Hong Kong x Next Gen programme—is unveiling his latest series in a lightbox installation titled “City Pop.” The Hong Kong-based artist’s rendition showcases his interpretation of the city.
Meanwhile, illustrator Sophia Hotung is presenting her mural artwork named “The Hong Konger Wall.” She crowdsourced images of Hong Kong people’s side profiles holding up the finger heart gesture and turned the photo into an illustration. The piece is community-centric and interactive as visitors can also see themselves up on the wall at the fair.
Yi-hong Hsu, who was born in Seoul but is now based in Hong Kong, is showcasing her digital art installation, “Decisions,” which is her own take on the connection between life and nature. It reflects her own multicultural background and experiences.
Every year, the Affordable Art Fair partners with various creative groups and non-profit organisations. In this year’s edition, the team invites ARTube Store, the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC), Keenable Creation, and Raze to promote art in Hong Kong.
ARTube Store is a local art community founded by Angel Hui and KC Wong. It takes the elements of a supermarket and combines them with art, creating a playful and interactive installation where visitors can encounter and appreciate different types of artworks, similar to how a supermarket categorises different products for shoppers.
Keenable Creation has been playing an active role in providing art training to people with physical disabilities and empowering them in their craft. At the fair, there will be artworks created by over 20 differently-abled artists, such as Liu Tung-mui and Ko Nam.
As AAF is held during the summer break, it also makes for the perfect family activity. Collaborating with different organisations to foster and inspire, youngsters can gain a better understanding of the arts. The Hong Kong Association of Art Therapists (HKAAT) and Art Loop are co-organising a series of family-friendly art therapy workshops and educational art tours that aim to enhance mental well-being through art.
HKAAT is leading four interactive art therapy workshops under four themes. It is open to participants of any age and costs $250 per person. Meanwhile, Art Loop is hosting educational tours for children aged five to seven, and also eight to 14. Tickets cost $200 per person. Additionally, Venture Studios is providing on-site family photo-taking services at the fair. There will be a charity package priced at $400.
Click here to see the full schedule of the workshops and tours.
To register for a session, book your ticket here.
Visiting the Affordable Art Fair is easier than ever thanks to the new Exhibition Centre Station on the East Rail line. Leave the station via Exit B3 and walk for four minutes to get to HKCEC. You can also get off at Wan Chai Station (Exit A2) and walk for about 12 minutes.