Engaging New Audiences: Art Beyond Museums and Galleries
Since 2014, a research team led by Professor Leung Mee-ping and Assistant Professors Kingsley Ng and Annie Wan has been conducting research on alternative spaces for public art. Working in collaboration with local and international stakeholders, such as the Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMA), the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC), the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the Art Promotion Office (APO), Art Basel, the Association of Visual Arts in Taiwan, Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial (Japan) and the Gwangju Biennale (South Korea), the team has conducted historical research and developed new outputs utilising transport networks, historical sites, government facilities, shops and festivals to increase and diversify the audience and enable greater access to the visual arts.
The research has been supported by grants of HK$2.4 million from government departments and Strategic Development Funds over the past six years. In initial research reported in a book chapter, “A New Field: Socially Engaged Art in Hong Kong” (2014), Professor Leung examined the development of public art and community art in Hong Kong and the use of commercial and social spaces for creativity. To accompany this chapter, Professor Leung produced the first comprehensive timeline report on Hong Kong’s socially engaged art from 1997 to 2014.
To extend the initial research beyond Hong Kong, the team convened two international conferences. Art as Social Interaction: Hong Kong/Taiwan Exchange (2014) was the first to present an extensive survey of social engagement practices through art over the past two decades in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Third International Award for Public Art and its associated conference (2017) was organised by the Centre for Research and Development in Visual Arts (CRDVA) with the Institute for Public Art. This conference focused on international practices of social engagement through the visual arts, presenting over 140 projects and international case studies.
Building on Professor Leung’s analysis and a case study examination, Assistant Professors Ng and Wan developed six practice-based research outputs to reach and engage new audiences (2017–2019). The outputs were commissioned for historical sites, urban sites and festivals. In 2017, Assistant Professor Ng worked with Art Basel Hong Kong, MGM Art and Culture, the Hong Kong Design Centre and the LCSD to present Twenty-five Minutes Older at Art Basel Hong Kong. This was the first art project completed in collaboration with Hong Kong’s public tram network. Over the Ocean at Lumieres Hong Kong (2017) engaged the public in an interactive project exploring issues of migration. After the Deluge (2018), presented in the Tai Hang Tung underground stormwater storage tank, was the first art project to involve the Hong Kong Drainage Services Department. To the Moon (2018), presented during the Mid-Autumn Festival in Jordan Valley Park, engaged the audience in exploring aspects of intangible cultural heritage through contemporary art.
To extend the impact of increased social engagement and participation through new forms of artistic research beyond Hong Kong, Assistant Professor Wan also produced two research works based on everyday items sold in supermarkets. Everyday a Rainbow (2016) was commissioned by the 11th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea and Zan Baak Fo (2017) was commissioned for the New Arts Power Festival presented by the HKADC. Furthermore, in 2019, Assistant Professor Wan was commissioned by the LCSD and HKADC to create new artworks for a remote rural community at the Hong Kong House for the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan.
Art Basel: Kingsley Ng's 'Twenty-Five Minutes Older', Hong Kong
- New forms of event-based and participatory visual art research, conducted at the Centre for Research and Development in Visual Arts (CRDVA), have led to changes in organisational behaviour and attitudes towards the commissioning of public art in alternative venues. This research has also increased public engagement in the visual arts and developed new audiences and understanding of contemporary art in Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan, reaching 350,000 participants.
Exhibitions and Publications
- Leung, J. (2014). A new field: Socially engaged art in Hong Kong. In M. Wu (Ed.), Art as social interaction: Hong Kong/Taiwan exchange. Taiwan: Association of the Visual Arts in Taiwan.
- Leung, J., & Ting, V. (2014). Timeline of Hong Kong history and Hong Kong’s socially engaged art. Retrieved from https://ava.hkbu.edu.hk/en/community/hk-socially-engaged-art.
- Ng, K. (2016–17). Twenty-five minutes older - mobile camera obscura as a form for expanded cinema [Artwork.] 5th Large Scale Media Arts Festival Hong Kong and 22nd International Symposium on Electronic Art, Hong Kong SAR (18 May-22 June 2016); Art Basel Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR (20–28 March 2017); and Milan Design Week, Milan, Italy (4–9 April 2017).
- Ng, K. (2018). After the deluge–urban media art as social mediation [Artwork.] Jockey Club New Arts Power, Hong Kong Arts Development Council, Hong Kong, SAR (6–31 January 2018).
- Wan, A.L.K. (2016). Everyday a Rainbow [Artwork.] 11th edition of Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2 September -6 November 2016)
- Wan, A.L.K. (2017). Zan Baak Fo [Artwork.] Jockey Club New Arts Power, Hong Kong Arts Development Council exhibition, Hong Kong SAR (19 December 2017 -28 January 2018).
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