If over the next week you visit Duddell’s restaurant and gallery in central Hong Kong, you might notice visitors snacking on colorful, festive cakes. These aren’t your run of the mill sweets – the edible sculptures, designed by local artist Phoebe Man, are decorated with politically charged phrases innocently drizzled in chocolate. The cakes are a recreation of the treats Man gave hungry Occupy Central protesters during pro-democracy demonstrations last year.
Alongside Man and local artists alike, Duddell’s is making a name for itself as a crucial social and cultural hub for active enthusiast dedicated to the arts in Hong Kong. A sister show to the upcoming and highly anticipated Art Basel Hong Kong, Duddell’s is showcasing an ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) Off-Site exhibition, Hong Kongese. The show is curated by Gregor Muir, Alia Al-Senussi and Abdullah Al-Turki – two of our favorite ArtBinder investors! It will feature 20 international artists living in or connected to the rapidly evolving metropolis, including Michele Abeles, Zhu Jinshi, Zeng Hong and Dexter Dalwood.
Hong Kong is a unique city where east and west blend into a mindset teeming with cultural creativity and profound beauty. Artists familiar to the metropolis often explore the complex duality of modernity and antiquity inherent to the city’s identity and, as an extension, their own selves. Curator Al-Senussi said, “We hope that Hong Kongese provides a sense of nostalgia, and a sense of politics too, along with a sense of what growing pains means, for the ancient along with the new.” While many of the exhibiting artists have previously faced the reality of strict censorship laws under Chinese government, organizations and artists such as Duddell’s and Ai WeiWei, respectively, continue to successfully fight for artistic freedom of expression in their modern city.
With ICA’s Hong Kongese alongside the powerhouse show Art Basel Hong Kong, Hong Kong is continually growing into a city more accepting of the art world than ever before. The opening of M+, a new museum for visual culture located in the heart of the city only furthers the fight to keep the art scene in Hong Kong pumping and full of life.