Frogman at No.10Studio number 10 belongs to renowned Hong Kong artist Kwok Mang-ho, better known as ‘Frogman’ or ‘Frog King’. An artist of international standing, Mang-ho still relies on this space to develop his portfolio. In addition to individual artists, the Cattle Depot is also home to non-profit organisations like Videotage, headquartered here for 13 years. Videotage provides a platform for video and media art, hosting exhibitions and discussions from artists around the world. The organisation’s chairman Isaac Leung believes passionately in improving communication between different parts of the art market and the Hong Kong government. “I think the problem in Hong Kong is that we don’t have a coherent master plan for cultural industry…lack of land space is a particularly big issue. If the government could observe some artists working it would be a big help,” said Isaac, adding that now is the perfect time to start building this plan, as the Hong Kong art world starts to evolve.
Wong Chun Wing“Historically, the local art scene was very strong and the commercial art scene was too, but they were not really collaborating until recently with art fairs and new projects. Suddenly all these different people had opportunities to work together. The landscape is really changing.” Communication, it would seem, is key to shaping the future standing of art in Hong Kong and ensuring local and commercial enterprises, as well as the government and art groups, collaborate more in the future. Art Basel and commercial art fairs have doubtless gone some way towards helping this, but I for one am yet to find a venue so open to the questions and opinions of a total stranger as the Cattle Depot. To go there is to escape for a moment to a space where it is the creation of art, and not its monetary value, that really matters. I hope that in the building of its cultural capital, Hong Kong can learn from communities like this one.
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