Time to shine for emerging artists

Top News | Phoebe Ng 19 May 2017

Decorating your home with art pieces becomes more economical as Affordable Art Fair kicks off today.

With price tags as low as HK$1,000, the fair - themed "Living with Art" - provides opportunities for you to restyle your home without draining your bank account.

The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre event for local artists greets visitors with a giant fish tank filled with straws and sponges at the entrance.

Guests are welcomed to stand or even sleep on the interactive installation created by Leung Wan-in.

More than 1,000 emerging and established artists from 113 galleries are participating.

"Portable Art Vending Machine" is a sarcastic expression of the hardships that artists face just to survive, said its creator Price Chu Yiu-wa. The device, which has a motion sensor, dispenses a piece of wooden art when someone puts money in it.

"It is like crowdfunding," Chu said jokingly. "Being a young artist is never easy in Hong Kong."

Chu added: "They have to try to get art galleries to sign them up. So I thought: why not reach out to people instead?"

Siu Wai-hang created "Customer" from supermarket and bank receipts to reflect consumerism in Hong Kong.

It is the fifth time the fair is held in the SAR. Last year's event made nearly HK$32 million - about 25 percent of which came from first-time buyers.

Fair director Stephanie Kelly said you do not have to be a millionaire to appreciate art. "It is about developing the art market and the whole ecosystem. We want to turn art lovers into art buyers and collectors."

Natasha Barnes from Turner Barnes Gallery in Britain said she has been taking part in the fair every year since it began in 2013. She said the city's art scene is getting more vibrant and sophisticated.

"Three pending deals were already made before the fair even began, we are expecting bigger sales this year," she said.

Jamie Turner, a Canadian visitor, said he might make a purchase if he saw something he liked.

"It is good to get art out to ordinary people," Turner said. "It is not as intimidating as an art gallery."

The fair - founded in London in 1999 by gallerist Will Ramsay - holds a variety of works, including traditional ink painting, abstract canvases, sculpture and photography.

It runs until Sunday. Kids enter for free.

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