City colour added to Hong Kong’s Affordable Art Fair in bid to draw in more tourists to annual event

City colour added to Hong Kong’s Affordable Art Fair in bid to draw in more tourists to annual event

A Hong Kong art fair designed to attract buyers on a budget has added some city colour to the event in a bid to attract more tourists, and galleries have said they have noticed a jump in the number of younger collectors.

The Affordable Art Fair, a four-day visual feast which opened on Thursday, includes city elements staged in collaboration with the Tourism Board.

These include a traditional barbershop kitted out as a speakeasy and serving cocktails infused with flavours found in traditional cha chaan teng tea houses.

The organisers said they expected about 30,000 visitors to the show over its run.

“The Tourism Board hopes that tourists can have a multisensory experience of Hong Kong’s unique qualities and will explore the community after attending the fair,” a spokesman said.

“The board hopes to include local elements in international art fairs to enrich the experience of visitors.”

A visitor captures some of the work on display at the Affordable Art Fair in Wan Chai on Thursday. Photo: Elson Li

The art fair, staged at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai and which will run to Sunday, has recorded a slight increase in the number of galleries taking part, up four on the 93 last year, with visitor numbers about the same.

“We’re on track to get close to 30,000 visitors, which will be on par, if not more, than last year,” Stephanie Kelly, the Asia-Pacific managing director for the fair, said.

She added that Hong Kong’s fast pace, open-mindedness and tax-free policies continued to give the city’s art market an edge over competitors.

Alvin Chiu, the founder and director of art consultancy and gallery A Consulting Limited, has exhibited at the fair for at least five years.

He said it was a good event for exposing art novices to collecting and could help the art market grow.

“I’ve sold a lot of art to first-timers,” Chiu said. “I’ve seen more buyers in their thirties.

“Perhaps they’ve just started a family and need to decorate their new homes.”

Chiu added the perception of original art as unaffordable had changed as prices had become more realistic.

He added increased exposure to the creative world and the relaxed atmosphere of the fair had also helped make art-buying less intimidating.

Choi said artwork that ranged in price from HK$10,000 (US$1,280) to HK$30,000 were the bestsellers from his gallery.

Yann Bombard, the owner of Envie d’Art Gallery, based in France, who has attended the fair in Hong Kong since 2014, said she had also noticed a surge in younger buyers.

“It’s not quite a shift from mature to younger collectors, but an expansion,” he added.

“We still have the ones in their forties and fifties, but there are more of those in their thirties. Collectors have also become more sophisticated.”

Bombard said he could not predict how well his gallery would do this year, but that he would be happy if it was in line with 2023’s performance.

“But if I do better, I will be even more happy,” he added.

Bombard said artworks in the HK$50,000 to HK$60,000 price range were his bestsellers.

The annual fair was first held in Hong Kong in May 2013, when works of art were offered from HK$1,000 up to HK$100,000.

The show follows the Art Basel and Art Central shows, held in March.



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