Here we have it: Hong Kong’s most artistic fortnight of the year is finally at our doorstep. Concentrating into the tail end of March this year, Hong Kong Art Week brings us the widest selection and celebration of world class art with headlining art fairs Art Basel and Art Central, and all the satellite art events and parties around town. If you’re keen to indulge in art, this is prime time in Hong Kong to explore all the city has to offer. It’s March Madness indeed: Cinephiles also get their fix with the opening of the Hong Kong International Film Festival this week, and food lovers get their own dose of all-star dining at the 4th edition of Taste of Hong Kong. Without a doubt, it’s one of the busiest and most exciting times in Hong Kong all year.
Hong Kong International Film Festival
When: 18 March–1 April
The 43rd iteration of the venerated Hong Kong International Film Festival once again lands in town this March, bringing some of the best global cinematic works to Hong Kong, both new and classic. The opening and closing gala films are always enticing: This year’s “Bodies at Rest” sees Nick Cheung starring against Richie Jen in a violent game of cat-and-mouse, in a story deftly pieced together by Hollywood action director Renny Harlin, known for his chops in “Die Hard 2.” Closing film “By the Grace of God,” the Berlinale Grand Jury prizewinner about child abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, is especially on topic.
Other highlights worthy of note include “The Crossing,” a debut feature by Bai Xue, about a girl who crosses the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border every day as a goods smuggler. Chinese auteur Jiang Wen’s latest feature is also worthy of note, diving deep into the glamour and intrigue of 1930s Beijing espionage. Film geeks will find their kryptonite in the form of the new 4K restoration of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” There’s also sections paying homage to Latin American cinema (catch “Marighella,” the directorial debut of Wagner Moura, who played Pablo Escobar on Netflix’s “Narcos”), as well as celebrating 100 years of Korean cinema with a handpicked selection of classics. A spotlight on Sammo Hung as the Filmmaker in Focus rounds off a Hong Kong celebration of film, with screenings of 10 of his seminal action masterpieces.
Check HKIFF for the full film programme.
Art of the Wild
When: 21–23 March
Price: HK$250–600 from Ticketflap
Potato Head Hong Kong and Perrier-Jouët join hands this month for “Art of the Wild,” a three-day festival that’s sure to become your go-to for sunset sessions for bubbly and heart-pulsing music. For the occasion, Central Pier’s Watermark has been transformed into a nightclub with unbeatable harbour views, decor inspired by retro 80s New York — the heyday of electronic music dance halls — and art installations by Berlin-based graffiti artist Nomad. An eclectic DJ programme boasts the likes of Tony Humphries, a pioneer of US garage, Running Back record label head Gerd Janson, and Parisian producer Joakim. There’s also African-inspired funk courtesy of Africaine 808 from Berlin, Balearic disco beats by Pete herbert, Eric Duncan and Downtown Party Network, as well as a host of Hong Kong talents who are regulars at Potato Head Hong Kong’s Music Room.
The Watermark, Central Pier 7 Top Level, Star Ferry, Central, Hong Kong
Taste of Hong Kong by HSBC
When: 21-24 March
Price: From HK$120 at Ticketflap
The fourth edition of Hong Kong’s beloved food festival returns to the Central Harbourfront following a record-breaking attendance last year. Featuring a lineup of some of Hong Kong’s most anticipated master chefs and restaurant vendors, it’s the best place to sample some of the most delicious eats in town. Try new highlights from The Flying Elk, John Anthony, Old Bailey, Sausage Commitment by Okra Hong Kong, and more, as well as return favourites Pici, Haku and Zuma. Lovers of a stiff single malt will want to head to The Taste Residence, which offers a fine dining experience designed to pair with 12, 15 and 18 year old expressions of The Singleton of Glen Ord Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Sweet tooths will also welcome the presence of artisan dessert houses Cookie DPT, RISE, Sabatino Tartufi, Baekmidang and Sweet Fashion House. Be sure to check out Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong’s very own hospitality booth offering delicious desserts for our readers!
Central Harbourfront, 9 Lung Wo Road, Central, Hong Kong
International Paella Day
When: 23 March
What’s not to love about Spain’s most famous rice dish? International Paella Day falls mid-week this year and for a hump day indulgence, head to 22 Ships or Ham & Sherry for your fix — they’re serving massive paellas fit for four to honour the occasion (HK$298 each), including a complimentary glass of cava for every diner.
Louis Vuitton: Objets Nomades
When: 23–31 March
Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades collection makes its return to Hong Kong for the second consecutive year, unveiling the Objets at the first public opening of Tai Kwun’s Central Magistracy. It’s also the premiere of the Les Petits Nomades decorative arts range in Hong Kong. Objets Nomades, for the uninitiated, is a growing collection of collectable items, enlisting the genius of international designers and showcasing the fashion house’s impeccable craftsmanship and innovation. This year, the collection features Atelier Oi’s Serpentine Table and Atelier Biagetti’s Anemona table. Award-winning design duo Raw Edges will notably also showcase their Objet Nomade in Hong Kong before it is presented to international press in April during Milan Design Week.
Block 9, Central Magistracy, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Art Week
If art is your passion, this is the time to see it in Hong Kong. Coinciding with the major art fairs arriving in town, Hong Kong Art Week kicks off with the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association Art Gallery Night (25 March, 6pm), when member galleries traditionally extend their hours for art lovers to enjoy their newest pieces with a glass of wine. The conviviality continues with an insightful Art Brunch on 30 March.
Next, homegrown art fair Art Central opens on 26–31 March, which brings 107 galleries under the signature white tent at the Central Harbourfront. Alongside boundary-breaking art to see, Art Central’s acclaimed performance art programme and talks are also must-see highlights. Joining the event are new partners Diptyque and Marriott Bonvoy, as well as return sponsors Swarovski and G.H. Mumm, all showcasing their odes to the creative.
Finally, the landmark event of Art Month is none other than Art Basel Hong Kong, taking place on 29–31 March, with Vernissage on the 28th. The beautifully curated Encounters section, dedicated to large-scale works, always offers surprises, thoughtful moments and undoubtedly a photo op or three. This year’s edition “Still We Rise,” curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor, gathers 12 impressive works that address the current and future political landscape: from Lee Bul’s floating silver zeppelin “Willing to be Vulnerable II” to an inverted city that you can walk under by Nordic duo Elmgreen & Dragset (below), to “Where Are We Going?” — a fleet of floating boats made from thread by Chiharu Shiota.
For those looking for some galleries and artist studios to visit, the South Island Art Day returns on 29 March from 10am–2pm, offering visitors a concentrated opportunity to explore this growing art enclave. Expect performances, artist talks, docent tours and gallery openings with refreshments.
Over on Kowloon side, the Harbour Art Fair returns for its third consecutive year on 29 March–1 April, bringing keen collectors and art lovers into the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, where works from more than 55 galleries — mainly representing South Korea — are displayed in hotel guestrooms.
Similarly, Hong Kong’s foremost hotel art fair may provide some inspiration for room decorating: the spring edition of Asia Contemporary Art Show opens on 29 March–1 April, once again inviting art lovers to the Conrad Hong Kong. More than 2,000 pieces of contemporary art from across the globe will be showcased, with spotlights on emerging and mid-career artists. ACAS is also well regarded for their Artist Dialogues, dedicating full guestrooms to solo and joint artist presentations, where you’ll get to meet with and discuss works with the creators themselves.
Hong Kong Ballet: Le Corsaire
When: 29–31 March
Price: HK$100–300 from Urbtix
One of the most thrilling dance performances this season is none other than the return of Le Corsaire, an award-winning production choreographed by former Boston Ballet artistic director Anna-Marie Holmes, after Sergeyev and Petipa. Based on Lord Byron’s “The Corsair,” the dashing adventure centres on a pirate’s love for a beautiful harem girl, weaving through the colourful costumes of pashas and maidens, nail-biting scenes of abductions and rescues, and a breathtaking set design all culminating in an elaborate shipwreck — one of the most breathtaking sights to behold in ballet. Fans of the ballet may also want to make time for free outdoor pop-up performances on 24 March in Tuen Mun’s Yan Oi Square, as part of the Hong Kong Ballet’s “Ballet in the City”initiative.
Auditorium, Tuen Mun Town Hall, 3 Tuen Hi Road, Tuen Mun
Earth Hour: Yoga Under the Stars
When: 30 March, 8pm
Cordis Hong Kong’s rooftop pool is already one of our favourite spots to unwind in the city. This March in honour of Earth Hour, Cordis will be switching off the lights for a yoga class under the stars. There are 10 spots only, so sign up quick.
Cordis, Hong Kong, 555 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Fond Farewell Party for The Excelsior
When: 30 March
Price: Tickets from Mandarin Oriental
Bid farewell to a long-time institution in Hong Kong as the iconic The Excelsior shutters its doors on 30 March after 46 years of business. A cocktail reception will begin in the lobby at 6pm, while each restaurant will feature exciting entertainment and food and beverage packages. ToTT’s and the roof terrace will feature live music and a six-course dinner from HK$2,688 with a glass of champagne; and Michelin-starred Yee Tung Heen will offer an eight course menu (HK$1,888/head, minimum booking of four) of signature dishes accompanied by a Chinese face-changing performance.
The Excelsior Hong Kong, 281 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2894 8888
CHAT Grand Opening: Unfolding: Fabric of Our Life
When: Through 30 June
The recently launched revitalisation project The Mills, the former cotton spinning mills of Nan Fung Textiles has also opened its long-awaited non-profit art centre, the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textiles. The opening exhibition “Unfolding: Fabric of Our Life” brings together textile-inspired works and performances featuring 17 artists from around the region, including Hong Kong’s own Movana Chen. There’s also an archival exhibition created by Turner Prize-winning architect collective Assemble and HATO. The Mills is also home to trendy eats and coffee shops, including a new branch of beloved craft burger shop Honbo, and cafe and baking studio Between Haru by Studio Sweet Petite K. With plenty to explore, shop, eat and drink, a trip to The Mills makes for an excellent weekend diversion.
The Mills, 45 Pak Tin Par Street, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, +852 3979 2300