Despite the unfortunate circumstances which have resulted in this year’s festivities for Arts Month mostly being cancelled, Hong Kong has long since already established herself as a major art destination for the world’s creative community. We all know the big-name gallery hotspots: Gagosian, David Zwirner, de Sarthe, Lehmann Maupin, and the like.
But this city also has plenty of hidden gems which are worth checking out for great art pieces as well. Here are eight underrated galleries which you may not know about yet but definitely deserve a visit soon. The art shows may be cancelled, but let’s keep Hong Kong Arts Month alive!
This little indie gallery tucked into a side street in Sai Ying Pun is one of our favourite places to pop into when in the neighbourhood. Their exhibited works deal with Hong Kong photography, usually of local subjects; this is also where you can pick up some unique wall art at affordable prices. Peruse with a glass of wine in hand and know that every exhibition is matched to a local charity and 10 percent of profits from art sales are donated.
Bamboo Scenes Gallery, 13 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun | (+852) 5243 8939
The result of a collaboration between Aisho Miura Arts and Nanzuka, Aishonanzuka is one of the few galleries in Hong Kong largely specialising in Japanese art. They feature contemporary art from Japanese artists whose works challenge the norm. Expect to find quirky and often colourful works. Right now they’re hosting a solo exhibition by Swedish artist Joakim Ojanen—his first in Asia—featuring paintings, ceramic installations, and giant wooden sculptures.
Aishonanzuka, G/F, Mee Lun House, 2–4 Mee Lun Street, Central
Established in 2007, Blue Lotus is a photography gallery focused on exploring Hong Kong culture and identity, working with both emerging artists and established masters—they exclusively represent Fan Ho and are the sole agent for Wing Shya. Be sure to visit their Nick Brandt exhibition in March called Inherit The Dust; using a series of panoramas shot in East Africa, Brandt looks back on and records the impact of mankind in places where animals used to roam, but sadly no longer do, due to urban encroachment, pollution, and the wildlife trade.
Blue Lotus Gallery, 28 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan | (+852) 5590 3229
This gallery in Hong Kong’s southside subverts expectations of art spaces by making their 3,000-square-foot area almost entirely pitch black. None of those boring white walls and white floors for fear that they may clash with the artwork; here, pieces seemingly loom out of the dark, and there’s really nothing else to distract from complete attention on the displays. They present a lot of immersive exhibitions, so a visit here will really be a full-sensory experience.
Empty Gallery, 18/F & 19/F, Grand Marine Centre, 3 Yue Fung Street, Tin Wan | (+852) 2563 3396
The site used to be the Shek Kip Mei factory estate that housed small family-run mills, but was revitalised into an artist village and creative hub in 2008. Nowadays, the JCCAC is populated with approximately 140 experimental artistic studios and cultural organisations.
We particularly like the Lam Yau Sum Studio, with the eponymous artist’s work blending trees, little human figurines, and electrical components in slightly dystopian microverses. Also check out Floating Projects, which is an experiment into how artists can survive outside the commercial gallery system or the public funded charity model with institutionally defined restraints.
Lam Yau Sum Studio, L2-04, Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, 30 Pak Tin Street, Shek Kip Mei
Floating Projects, L3-06D, Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, 30 Pak Tin Street, Shek Kip Mei | (+852) 9030 6444
Urban art enthusiasts will love Over the Influence, a gallery which focuses on the radical, eye-catching, and the interesting yet ephemeral of modern life. They have previously exhibited works from artists such as Andy Dixon and Adam Beris, and have also brought Parra’s latest solo show to Hong Kong last year.
Pop by now to see Peter Shire’s Silhouettes, Soufflés & Succotash, with new works on paper, ceramic, and metal in his recognisable style that prioritises humour, whimsy, and the quirks of human expression.
Over the Influence, 1/F, 159 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2617 9829
Created by a local artist, Form Society’s 1,300-square-foot space includes a collaborative space and a multipurpose exhibition area, which has had illustrations, multimedia, and animated works displayed. Their whole aim is to bring the neighbouring community closer together, and will regularly host pop-up events, speaker sessions, and workshops that are open to the public. It’s not really an art gallery in the strictest sense, more of a free-flow artistic space that’s worth checking out nonetheless.
Form Society, 186 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 9751 7157
Also within the hip Tai Nan Street precinct, Parallel Space is a multifunctional exhibition space which largely promotes art and culture within the local context. The exhibition venue curates what they refer to as “art-ivities,” which has in the past included a whole collection involving only live plants and an Instagram photo showcase curated by renowned photographer Wing Shya. The exhibition currently running is Soft Heart, focusing on works by female illustrators. Definitely one to keep an eye on!
Parallel Space, 202 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 6925 3889