In the outer reaches of Hong Kong, pockets of old industrial buildings are a reminder of the city's manufacturing heyday, before the region’s factory work relocated to mainland China in the 1980s.
But the run-down,
grey blocks did not remain vacant for long. In an effort to find affordable
space, cash-poor creative types flocked to former industrial centres like Kwun Tong,
Wong Chuk Hang and Fo Tan, turning former meatpacking warehouses and textile
storage facilities into low-cost studios, showrooms and boutiques.
since 2003, artists in the Fo Tan neighbourhood have opened their usually
private workspaces to the public in a weekend-long festival, called Fotanian Open Studios. The event now spans
two weekends (7 January to 8 January and 14
January to 15 January)
and counts 80 studios and more than 300 artists as participants. Last year, 15,000
visitors packed into freight elevators and wandered the gritty hallways of the
Wah Luen Industrial Centre (15-21 Wong Chuk
Yeung Street), the epicentre
of the festival's activities.
can browse freely and can expect to see a wide range of local work, most of which is
available for purchase, from sustainable style at fashion workshop Alternatif, to playful animal sculptures
made out of discarded wood at Mountain
Loft, to the work of female artists at Qiáng.
is the last chance to see the contemporary Blue Lotus Gallery in this unique setting, as the gallery is set to relocate
from Fo Tan at the end of January. In addition,
there are guided tours, workshops, seminars, video screenings and even a modern
dance performance. Admission is free.
Hana R Alberts is the Hong Kong Localite for