Story-telling and social-urban art meets islands, moonrise and God’s hands

It’s November, and it’s time for the art-meets-islands festival in the Saikung area of Hong Kong.

The “Sai Kung Hoi Arts Festival is a three-year arts project that started in November 2022 and focuses on some of the islands and villages in Saikung with the idea that “isles can be the place where people meet, connect, begin and enjoy their journeys to experience the healing power of arts and nature”.

Into its second year, the festival covers 4 islands this November (from 2 islands in its first year), including Yim Tin Tsai, a village with Catholic and Hakka culture (we first mentioned this island in “Island tales #1: Celebrating culture on an island in an island country” and again in “Island tales #2: East meets West in beautiful beaches …) as well as Sharp Island, where there’s a tombolo which makes a part the island can only be accessed on foot at low tide.  This is all part of a UNESCO geopark area.

On Sharp island, you can find a wonderful open-air sculpture called Moonrise in Daylight which not only was inspired by and reflects the island’s major feature also known as “Fairy Walk” – tidal phases are, of course, closely related to the moon – but with some of the weaving of the bamboo spheres done by the public.

Another inspiring highlight is an installation called “Everything is in God’s Hands”, which is a pair-of-hands-shaped installation which is actually built as a maze-like winding path leading to a core that “reflects our inner conditions”.

Hong Kong has seen some interesting public art in recent years: one installation we find quite fun is part of the reopened Hong Kong Museum of Art, an “inside-and-outside” fluid, ribbon-like installation called “In Between” that reflects the intertwined relationship between art and architecture, figuratively weaving in and out of the museum through the glass panes of the ground floor exhibition hall.  In other words, you can sit on the bench outside the museum from where you can glimpse into art inside the museum, an inspired way of bringing art into public space!

Another is a series of umbrella-topped public furniture inspired by Chinese garden pavilions, launched at the height of Covid-19, titled “Apart together”, with each pavilion allowing users to hang out ‘together’ while keeping them ‘apart’ safely.  These can be found in the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter area, which itself is a piece of the fascinating history of Hong Kong (the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter being the city’s first and built in the 1870s)!

We still love Soundscape in the Tamar Park just next to the Legco Building, inspired by tye xylophone it is also an urban-furniture on which you can sit at the same time others can play music with it!

The sculpture reminds us of the Federation Bells installation in the city of Melbourne (here’s Madeleine in Melbourne last “summer”)!