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The Moodie Report has long championed airports that promote local, regional or national culture, crafts, cuisine, heritage and history – the all-important Sense of Place concept that we have dedicated so much space to over the past 13 years. But I doubt I have ever seen anything as impressive as a new initiative from Hong Kong International Airport.
This month the airport is celebrating its 17th anniversary in sumptuous style with its first-ever art and culture exhibition and performances.
This enthralling, multi-faceted cultural feast got off to a magnificent start this week with the unveiling of an installation (pictured below) called Ten Thousand Galloping Horses, United with One.
Commissioned by Xu Beihong Arts Committee, the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups organised this project based on the theme of Master Xu’s iconic image of the galloping horse. The adapted installation is based on Xu’s famous Six Galloping Horses painting, and is decorated with elements designed by locally renowned artists and celebrities (including Airport Authority Hong Kong CEO Fred Lam). If you’re either based in or are travelling through Hong Kong International Airport, I urge you to take a look (Coach Hall, Level 3, T2); it’s on display until 19 July and then again from 7 August until 30 September.
And there’s so much more to the exhibition. Internationally renowned artist Dr Dominic Lam Man-kit is taking airport users on a ‘Voyage of Discovery’. He invented the ‘Chromoskedasic’, which results in coloured images being produced using only black and white photographic papers and solutions. The exhibition showcases his 20 works, including This Land is Our Land which was on display at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, as well as the US$1 million masterpiece Voyage of Discovery.
It’s not just static displays either. Starting today, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Piano Music Association, there are six consecutive days of concerts of classical and jazz music performed by well-received local musicians – surely the world’s first-ever Airport Proms?
On a less classical note (literally), there’s also a focus on ‘Cantopop’ , featuring the music of acclaimed songwriter Michael Lai, who has composed numerous theme songs for television dramas and movies, many of which are all-time favourites in Hong Kong.
Lai also composed songs for singers such as Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung, which propelled them to their peak of success as Cantopop icons. His songs will be broadcast in T1, creating a unique Hong Kong-style ambience for airport users.
‘Two Studio’ (above and below) sees a collaboration by the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Professional Photographer’s Network. In what sounds an incredible alliance, 18 professional photographers cross-over with 20 emerging Cantonese opera actors to produce 40 magnificent images that capture the essence of traditional Chinese theatrical arts through the lens of contemporary photographers.
Earlier in 2015, Airport Authority staff created the remarkable Above The Clouds (below), made out of more than 10,000 food cans. Resembling the popular tourist attraction Tian Tan Buddha, this exquisite example of creativity won two awards in the wonderfully named Canstruction Hong Kong 2015 competition. The charity event aimed to promote food donations to tackle world hunger and raise public awareness of the issue. From July to September, this magnificent piece will be recreated for display at Hong Kong International Airport.
Bravo to Hong Kong International Airport management for daring to embrace the concept of an airport as a giant artistic tapestry onto which a thrilling Sense of Place can be woven.