Hong Kong Palace Museum celebrates official opening
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Hong Kong Palace Museum celebrates official opening
Hong Kong Palace Museum Gallery 2. © Hong Kong Palace Museum.

HONG KONG.- Located in the West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong's newest arts and cultural landmark, the Hong Kong Palace Museum, held its opening ceremony today. The ceremony was co-organised by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. A collaborative project between the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) and the Palace Museum, the HKPM aims to promote the study and appreciation of Chinese art and culture as well as to foster dialogue between world civilisations. The opening of the museum marks a new chapter in the advancement of Chinese arts and culture in Hong Kong and signifies an important milestone for Hong Kong and the West Kowloon Cultural District in developing Hong Kong into an East-meets-West Centre for International Cultural Exchange as outlined in the National 14th Five-Year Plan.

The opening ceremony was officiated by Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the HKSAR; Li Qun, Vice-Minister of Culture and Tourism and Administrator of the National Cultural Heritage Administration; Lu Xin-ning, Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in HKSAR; Yang Yi-rui, Deputy Commissioner, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the HKSAR; Dr Wang Xu-dong, Director of the Palace Museum; Henry Tang Ying-yen, Chairman of the Board of WKCDA; Jack Chan, Acting Secretary for Home Affairs; Bernard Charnwut Chan, Chairman of the Board of the HKPM; Philip N L Chen, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Betty Fung, Chief Executive Officer of WKCDA; and Dr Louis Ng, Museum Director, the HKPM. The HKPM will officially open to the public on 2 July 2022 (Saturday).

Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the HKSAR, said: “The establishment of the HKPM is intertwined with the unique advantages of Hong Kong under ‘One Country, Two Systems’. Besides playing the role of connecting the essence of cultures between the East and West, the HKPM can also work together with cultural institutions in the Mainland to promote Chinese culture to ‘go global’. It is intertwined with the full support rendered by the Central Government for Hong Kong and its affection for the people of Hong Kong. This is fully reflected by President Xi Jinping’s visit to the West Kowloon Cultural District five years ago during his visit in Hong Kong, where he witnessed the signing of the ‘Collaborative Agreement between the WKCDA and the Palace Museum on the Development of the HKPM’. It is intertwined with the trust that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the National Cultural Heritage Administration and the Palace Museum have in Hong Kong. This trust stems from the hugely popular reception for various Palace Museum-themed exhibitions jointly curated by the Palace Museum and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the HKSAR Government. During these exhibitions, the capabilities of local curators were highly appreciated by the Palace Museum. The opening of the HKPM today is just the beginning; it bears an important responsibility and shoulders the mission of the times.”

Li Qun, Vice-Minister of Culture and Tourism and Administrator of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, congratulated the HKSAR Government in his speech. He said: "President Xi Jinping cares deeply about the arts and cultural development of Hong Kong. The establishment of the HKPM is an innovative blend of rich traditional Chinese culture, embodied by the Palace Museum, and the spirit of Hong Kong as a modern international city. The museum’s establishment is also a major milestone signifying the collaboration between Mainland China and Hong Kong, and an innovative development that enables the sharing and inheritance of our splendid traditional Chinese culture. The completion of the HKPM allows Hong Kong citizens to appreciate up-close these beautiful and precious treasures, experience the profoundness of traditional Chinese culture, feel the heartbeat of the development of contemporary China, and enhance the cultural confidence of Hong Kong as a thriving city.”

Mr Li continued: “Under the strong leadership of the Central Government, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the National Cultural Heritage Administration, we will strengthen cooperation with the HKSAR Government to deepen cultural, artefactual and tourism exchanges between Mainland China and Hong Kong, and further integrate Hong Kong’s cultural development into the overall development of Chinese culture, underscoring the city’s influence in an ever-changing global landscape and ensuring it can play an active role in promoting Chinese culture internationally and contribute to exchanges between civilisations in the new era in a uniquely Hong Kong way.”

Dr Wang Xu-dong, Director of the Palace Museum, said: “The Palace Museum has taken on the important mission of inheriting, protecting and promoting the distinguished traditions of Chinese culture. On the road to realising our four visions, including 'making the Palace Museum a world-class cultural institution, a role model for cultural heritage conservation, a leader in cultural and tourism integration, and a hub to foster dialogue and exchange between world civilisations', we seek the generous support of all sectors in Hong Kong to help us promote the museum as a centre for mankind’s cultural heritage. The mission and development of the HKPM are aligned with our own. Under the strong leadership of the Central Government and the HKSAR Government, and helped by the great support of different sectors of society, both museums will work closely together to integrate into the development of the Greater Bay Area and draw on Hong Kong’s position as an international arts and cultural exchange hub to broaden the international influence of Chinese culture, with the aim of promoting cultural exchange and making a new and outstanding contribution to our heritage museum sector."

Philip N L Chen, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, expressed his sincere thanks to the Central Government, the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government and the HKSAR Government for their support for the project. He said the HKPM has a profound significance for Hong Kong and also for the Club. “First, this is the Club’s largest single donation to date. Second, this is one of the largest loans of exhibits by the Palace Museum to a cultural institution outside the Mainland, all of which is a testament to the Central Government’s support for our city. Thanks to the Hong Kong Palace Museum, visitors can understand and appreciate a great deal more about Chinese art and history.”

Henry Tang Ying-yen, Chairman of the Board of the WKCDA, said: “As an international metropolis, Hong Kong’s uniqueness is rooted in the traditions of Chinese culture while at the same time drawing on influences from around the world. While the HKPM’s main focus is on presenting Chinese heritage and the cultural wonders of the Palace Museum, there is also a strong emphasis on fostering dialogue and exchange between cultures and civilisations. The National 14th Five-Year Plan offers clear support for Hong Kong to develop into an East-meets-West Centre for International Cultural Exchange, and the HKPM can play an important role in helping to achieve this goal. Leveraging the city’s uniqueness and advantages as a cultural powerhouse, the museum will work to raise the public’s interest in Chinese traditions and heritage, particularly among young people, while boosting historical and cultural awareness in Hong Kong. The opening of the HKPM will enrich the facilities and programmes of the West Kowloon Cultural District, elevating Hong Kong’s status as a melting pot of Chinese and Western cultures and reinforcing the city’s position as a platform for cultural exchange between China and the world.”

To celebrate its opening, the museum will run a series of special activities, spearheaded by a HKPM Opening Talk Series featuring Dr Louis Ng, Museum Director of the HKPM; Ren Wan-ping, Deputy Director of the Palace Museum; and Dr Daisy Wang Yiyou, Deputy Director of the HKPM. What’s more, the “HKPM SHOWTIME!” series will present a wide range of performing arts events, spanning music, dance and drama and performed by some of Hong Kong’s leading performing arts groups and artists. In addition, regular film screenings, Chinese calligraphy and painting masterclasses, imperial ceramics workshops for children and adults, ink-rubbing workshops, and conservation and preservation workshops will be held on weekends to engage the public.

Nine thematic and special exhibitions showcase Palace Museum culture via local perspectives

The construction of the HKPM building was funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club through its Charities Trust’s donation of HK$3.5 billion. Located at the western tip of West Kowloon along the Victoria Harbour waterfront, the HKPM is a seven-storey building that covers a site area of 13,000 sqm with a total floor area of approximately 30,000 sqm. Designed by the acclaimed Hong Kong-based Rocco Design Architects Associates, the exterior design of the museum is inspired by the essence of Chinese art objects. One of the key architectural highlights is the “vertical central axis” concept, inspired by the central axis of the Forbidden City, which connects the museum’s floors vertically through three atriums, each facing a different direction, along the central axis across the ground, second and fourth floors. The atriums link the different floors on which the nine galleries are located, guiding visitors to move upwards. The three atriums offer sweeping vistas over the West Kowloon Cultural District, the iconic skyline of Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island respectively, allowing visitors to experience the perfect harmony created between the museum building and its surroundings.

The HKPM comprises nine galleries specifically designed for thematic and special exhibitions. The opening exhibitions are jointly curated by the HKPM and the Palace Museum.

Seven of the nine galleries will host exhibitions introducing the fascinating history and culture of the Palace Museum through unique artefacts from its collection. Among them, Gallery 1 Entering the Forbidden City: Collection, Architecture; and Heritage, and Gallery 2 From Dawn to Dusk: Life in the Forbidden City will introduce the Forbidden City in the Ming and Qing dynasties and the court life in the Qing dynasty. Gallery 3 Clay to Treasure: Ceramics from the Palace Museum Collection, Gallery 4 Encountering the Majestic: Portraits of Qing Emperors and Empresses and Gallery 5 The Quest for Originality: Contemporary Design and Traditional Craft in Dialogue will include exhibitions of ceramics, portraits of Qing Emperors and Empresses and art treasures. Gallery 8 The Making of Masterpieces: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy from the Palace Museum and Gallery 9 Grand Gallop: Art and Culture of the Horse will be devoted to large-scale special exhibitions, presenting the finest and rarest Chinese paintings and calligraphic works from the Palace Museum along with artworks that highlights the significance of the horse in both Chinese and world cultures. In addition to the objects from the Palace Museum, Gallery 9 will also display 13 important artworks loaned from Musée du Louvre in Paris, which is a testament to the depth of cultural and knowledge exchanges between China and other countries.

The opening exhibitions also feature two Hong Kong-themed galleries. Private to Public: The History of Chinese Art Collecting in Hong Kong (Gallery 6) surveys for the first time over a century of Chinese art collecting in the city, presenting precious artefacts from other significant cultural institutions in Hong Kong and part of the first batch of the HKPM collection, as well as highlighting the history of local museum development. No Boundaries: Reinterpreting the Palace Museum Culture (Gallery 7) presents six local multimedia and interdisciplinary artists’ new works that reinterpret the art and culture of the Forbidden City from a fresh perspective. The exhibition demonstrates the HKPM’s effort to celebrate the dynamism of Chinese culture while connecting its time-honoured traditions with the vibrant Hong Kong contemporary art scene.

Fifty-three multimedia exhibits will be displayed across different galleries, presenting the Palace Museum culture through video, sound and interactive installations that complement the exhibits on display. They include various digital projects produced by the Palace Museum, and five projects curated by Hong Kong multimedia and visual arts experts Professor Jeffrey Shaw and Chiu Kwong-chiu. Blending art and technology, these multimedia exhibits provide unique experiences for the audience to fully immerse themselves in the Forbidden City with a creative twist.

HKPM to engage community with free tickets and arts/educational programmes

Approximately 140,000 admission tickets for the first four weeks of the museum’s opening were made available for purchase starting from 14 June (Tuesday), with strong interest from the public. To celebrate the museum’s opening, members of the public may register online for free admission every Wednesday for a period of 12 months after the opening (special exhibitions and events excluded). Members of the public can register or purchase tickets through the HKPM website, the West Kowloon Cultural District website, the West Kowloon Cultural District app, as well as the online platforms of the museum’s ticketing partners including Klook, China Travel Service (Hong Kong) Limited and Fliggy.

The HKPM will also set aside about 150,000 general admission tickets (or 10% of the total number of tickets in the first year) to be sponsored by corporates and other organisations for distribution to underprivileged groups.

Education and community engagement are among the HKPM’s top priorities. Spanning the entire lower floor of the museum, the 1,600-sqm Palace Academy is the largest dedicated museum learning space in Hong Kong, comprising the 400-seat The Hong Kong Jockey Club Auditorium and three activity rooms – Merit Hall, Magnus Hall and the Learning Resource Centre. The academy offers a variety of educational activities, including film screenings, the HKPM Opening Talk Series, performing arts events, student exhibitions, workshops for families, training for teachers, and courses on Chinese art, history and culture. The HKPM is committed to building long-term strategic partnerships with local schools and other educational institutions with the aim of bringing the museum’s learning programmes and cultural resources to campuses and communities. It also runs programmes to train volunteers and docents who will assist in day-to-day operations and educational projects following the museum’s opening.

Promoting traditional Chinese culture with the support of key stakeholders

The successful opening of the HKPM is also attributed to the strong support of and donations from various sectors. Even before its opening, the museum has already received donated collections that have helped to establish a solid foundation for the museum to build a world-class collection. The HKPM would like to thank all the donors, including Betty Lo and Kenneth Chu, owners of the Mengdiexuan Collection; Cheung Kee Wee, owner of the Huaihaitang collection; Lawrence Chan, owner of the Dawentang collection; along with Grace Wu, Wu Chie-hong and Professor Raymond Fung.

In addition, the HKPM would also like to acknowledge the generous support from various organisations, including The Hong Kong Jockey Club whose HK$3.5 billion donation funded the establishment of the museum, as well as part of its exhibitions and educational projects in the coming nine years, and our strategic partner Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited. Other sponsors include LGT Private Banking, Swire Properties, China Merchants Foundation, Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, Greater Bay Area Homeland Youth Community Foundation, Cathay, Hong Kong CPCC Youth Association, Friends of Hong Kong Association, Rosewood Hong Kong, K. Wah International Holdings Limited, United Overseas Bank, Bei Shan Tang Foundation, Kowloon Federation of Associations, Lui Che Woo Prize, Simon Suen Foundation, Federation of HK Jiangsu Community Organisations, Golden Jubilee Charity Foundation, Hong Kong Federation of Fujian Associations, Animoca Brands and Hong Kong CPPCC (Provincial) Members Association.

The HKPM would also like to thank the following lending institutions for supporting its opening exhibitions, including the Palace Museum, Musée du Louvre, Antiquities and Monuments Office of the Government of the HKSAR, Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, University Museum and Art Gallery, the University of Hong Kong, Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, Hong Kong Maritime Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Art and Liang Yi Museum.

The public is encouraged to join the “HKPM Friends” membership programme to provide long-term support for the museum. The programme offers various benefits to members, including free year-round admission for both general admission and special exhibitions, an exclusive lane to access the museum and special shopping discounts. Further details will be unveiled in July 2022.

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