The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, January 26, 2023


Patriot games: Hong Kong arts scene shudders as loyalists circle
This photo taken on March 17, 2021 shows "M+" (C), a museum of visual culture, currently under construction and scheduled to open later this year, in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong. After successfully muzzling Hong Kong's democracy protests and opposition, Beijing's loyalists are now taking aim at the arts as they seek to impose mainland-style orthodoxy on culture and purge the city of dissent. Peter PARKS / AFP.

by Su Xinqi and Jerome Taylor



HONG KONG (AFP).- After successfully muzzling Hong Kong's democracy protests and opposition, Beijing's loyalists are now taking aim at the arts as they seek to impose mainland-style orthodoxy on culture and purge the city of dissent.

Newly built on Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour, M+ Museum aims to rival Western contemporary heavyweights like London's Tate Modern and New York's MoMA.

The 60,000 square-metre venue is finally set to open later this year after multiple delays. But it has already found itself in hot water.

Earlier this week a group of prominent pro-Beijing local politicians accused the museum of breaching a sweeping national security law that China imposed on Hong Kong last year in response to 2019's huge and often violent democracy protests.

The cause of the complaint, filed to police on Tuesday, was the content of a media preview, including works by dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

"Many of the pieces are spreading hatred against the country," pro-Beijing lawmaker Eunice Yung said in a recent question to city leader Carrie Lam in the legislature.

"Will the government censor the collection? What will the government do to prevent such provocation of anti-China sentiments?" she added.

Lam, a pro-Beijing appointee, replied that Hong Kong "respects the freedom of cultural and artistic expression".

But she warned authorities would be on "full alert" for any breaches of the security law, adding that the red line "is clearly recognisable" for anyone hosting exhibitions.

'Deflated and anxious'

The exchange sent a new shudder through the arts scene in a city struggling to hold onto its reputation as an international cultural gateway to China unhindered from the authoritarian mainland's controls.

Insiders say self-censorship had been on the rise in recent years.

But the broad wording of Hong Kong's national security law -- and the fervour with which influential pro-Beijing figures wish to see it applied -- now adds a whole extra layer of risk.

"People are just a little deflated and anxious," one art expert involved in major exhibitions at museums told AFP, asking to remain anonymous.

The law targets anything deemed "secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces" and has quickly criminalised a host of political views.

"Now in the ever-widening definition of things that could undermine national security in Hong Kong, we should add pieces of art," Peter Lewis, a radio presenter with RTHK wrote on Twitter earlier this week.




China promised Hong Kong could keep a level of autonomy and freedom ahead of its 1997 handover by Britain.

But it has ramped up control since democracy protests exploded and declared only "staunch patriots" can run Hong Kong.

Shifting sands

M+ is not the only cultural canary to be caught up in this new patriotic drive.

Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao -- two newspapers that answer to Beijing's Liaison Office -- have published multiple articles recently attacking "subversive" content in Hong Kong's arts scene, primarily projects that deal with the democracy movement.

Earlier this month Wen Wei Po led a successful campaign to halt the first commercial screening of an award-winning documentary on the protests, saying it "spread hatred against our country".

Meanwhile Ta Kung Pao accused the government-appointed Arts Development Council (ADC) of being led by "anti-government figures" who approved funding for "seditious projects".

The council responded, saying it would review upcoming grants and ensure nothing "deemed offending the current laws of Hong Kong" would receive funding.

Retired journalism professor To Yiu-ming said Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po were like weather vanes for working out where Beijing expects the new cultural red lines to be drawn in Hong Kong.

"When the papers speak, the government will follow," he told AFP.

"Hong Kong is heading down a path where all parts of the society, from political actions to people's daily life, will be measured by political correctness."

An ADC member who requested anonymity told AFP the council would use court verdicts, not news reports, to judge the lawfulness of a potential project.

But the member admitted political pressure might increase in the coming years, particularly after a 2022 membership reshuffle.

Back at M+, curators will have to navigate Hong Kong's rapidly changing cultural sands as opening day approaches.

In a statement this week it said it hoped its exhibitions will "stimulate discussion, research, learning, knowledge and pleasure", adding: "We will comply with the laws of Hong Kong whilst maintaining the highest level of professional integrity."


© Agence France-Presse










Today's News

March 22, 2021

Andrew Jones Auctions announces highlights included in March 28 auction

Christie's 20th Century Art London, Day and Online Sales now online for browsing

Jean-Michel Basquiat's 'Warrior': Living up to expectations

Christie's announces highlights included in The Arts of the Surreal Evening Sale

Briscoe Center acquires archive of Jacques Lowe, renowned photographer of Kennedy Family

Career-spanning exhibition of works by Robert Mapplethorpe opens at Gladstone Gallery

MAMC+ announces the third European iteration of 'Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist'

ADA opens an exhibition of works by Benni Bosetto

Almine Rech opens an exhibition of works by Mehdi Ghadyanloo

Hugh Newell Jacobsen, famed modernist architect, dies at 91

Photoworks & Jerwood Arts announce major commissioning and exhibiting opportunity for early-career artists

The New Orleans Museum of Art acquires 'The Seated III' by Wangechi Mutu

Qatar Museums announces inaugural programme for Tasweer Photo Festival Qatar

Medals awarded to doctor in West Africa and China highlight medal sale at Dix Noonan Webb

"The Last Orientalist": A major solo exhibition by Sarp Kerem Yavuz is now open at Anna Laudel Dusseldorf

Hungary pop music reform opens new front in culture war

Patriot games: Hong Kong arts scene shudders as loyalists circle

Calls grow for a national monument honoring America's Covid dead

Art Dubai to be one of the first physical art fairs of 2021

Colin Hunt's debut solo exhibition with Hirschl & Adler Modern opens in New York

Photos on QUAD's building launches 10th edition of FORMAT International Photography Festival

Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers announces Comic, Trading Card Game, for Pokémon and Toy auction

Poland's Adam Zagajewski, 'poet of 9/11' dies aged 75

Terror attack memorials pose dilemma: Who benefits?

How to File for Divorce Online in Kentucky │ Essential Tips

Low-Cost Divorce in Maryland │ How to Get?

Online Divorce vs. Hiring Lawyers in Kansas




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful