Hong Kong – The HK Walls Project

Hong Kong – The HK Walls Project

When making travel plans, where you go isn’t the only important factor – when you go has a part to play as well. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as the weather, when people you know in the country might be available…or it could be that you want to coincide our visit with a particular event that is happening in the place at the time.

Now, I’ll be honest, it very often doesn’t work out that way for me, and I tend to book the visit first, and see what happens to be going on there later (a symptom of my job, which restricts my travelling time to the school holidays). Fortunately for me, on my recent trip to Hong Kong I had a friend in country with his ear to the ground. And I was lucky enough to witness the HK Walls project that was going on in the Sham Shui Po district of the city, where I happened to be staying.

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The HK Walls was a two week project that ran in March 2016, and featured renowned graffiti artists from both Hong Kong and around the world taking ownership of a wall space in the Sham Shui Po district so as to bring street art to the neighbourhood; think of it as democratising art instead of keeping it hermetically sealed away in exclusive museums.

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Hunting down the individual artwork made for a fun, treasure hunt-esque experience, with the two pieces we saw that the artists were actually working on there and then being particular highlights. The best one of all – by the renowned Spanish artist Okuda – was a colourful, geometric based, pop surrealist piece entitled ‘Rainbow Thief’ that covered the whole side of a building and was simply stunning.

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It was fantastic to see a suburb that – both geographically and spiritually – feels like the beating heart of Hong Kong be the arena for such an innovative and inclusive art project. As with all street art, it’s bringing art to the people in a creative and fun way, thus destroying the notion that art is only for a perceived elite. That it appeared here is further proof that Hong Kong remains distinct from the comparatively repressed way of life that is the norm on the mainland.

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6 Comments

  • Voyager

    May 1, 2016 at 2:10 pm Reply

    What amazing works of art. I had been to Hong Kong last December, but what you saw give a totally different perspective. Street art at its best.
    Voyager recently posted…An Incredible Trip To The Moon And BackMy Profile

    • Joe

      May 1, 2016 at 2:19 pm Reply

      Thanks. It was fortuitous timing to be there at the time this was happening but still, I’ll take it! 🙂

  • Michelle Gumangan

    May 2, 2016 at 2:27 am Reply

    I’ve grown accustomed to the idea that street art is equivalent to a form of political protest. A graffiti or a form of vandal for some, It’s like a freedom wall where one express sentiments that would be otherwise repressed, normally by the government. Those who do are in most part, on the radical side of the political spectrum and they convey their message in the most creative way possible without doing much of the talking. Aside from its aesthetic value, as they say, art has the power to change the world, of which I say….I agree.

    You were so lucky to have witnessed the HK Walls project during your visit. I am a fan of street art. 🙂

    • Joe

      May 2, 2016 at 8:40 am Reply

      Thanks Michelle. As the saying goes, the earth without art is just ‘eh’, which is the watchword of the apathetic and disengaged. Art can change the world, so long as people are willing to listen and it happens in an arena that is receptive to it. Which is why I just can’t envisage something like this happening in a city in mainland China. If it did happen, now that would be something…

  • Stephanie - touristexclusive.com

    May 2, 2016 at 8:24 am Reply

    Wow! I’m impressed by the rainbow thief and the grey face. The one with the horse is also pretty detailed. I can’t imagine doing something like this. Only real artists need to get this chance. Thank you for sharing this and making the wonderful pictures!

    • Joe

      May 2, 2016 at 8:37 am Reply

      Thank you for us for stopping by. I agree that what they have achieved is simply staggering, really, and it was great to see it celebrated in an area more frequented by locals than that tourists too 🙂

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