CHINA DAILY | Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong goes live again

Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong goes live again
By Joyce Yip

 A polyester sculpture by Rainbo. Represented by Art Current. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)


After a one-year hiatus owing to COVID-19, Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong will be back in its physical form next week. AAFHK Director Regina Zhang says the spotlight is on works by younger, local artists. Forty-four galleries, including 16 new entrants, are participating.

“COVID-19 was a time to rethink how an art fair could cater better to both visitors and collectors while hosting a safe event,” Zhang says.

Creating a space where collectors with relatively modest means could be made to feel at home is the hallmark of the AAF brand. Prices start at HK$1,000 (US$128). 

Like the other art fairs held in Hong Kong earlier this year, AAFHK will feature “ghost booths”, managed by gallery representatives or local personnel standing in for them. Sharing a curated space will be eight overseas galleries — South Trip Gallery from Chile; Singapore’s Studio-ID Art Gallery and Utterly Art; Marine House at Beer, and Quantum Contemporary Art in England; Germany’s Galerie Makowski; Van Rensburg Galleries from Australia; and Peru’s Diverso Art Gallery. 

 Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong Director Regina Zhang says the focus is on local artists as well as creating a safe space for the visitors. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

AAFHK’s commitment to giving access to all, especially the disabled, continues. Sovereign Art Foundation, which works with disadvantaged children, will conduct a paper-making workshop. Hong Kong Association of Art Therapists will host wellness programs. 

Marcella Tong, co-founder of Art Current and first-time exhibitor at AAFHK’s physical event, says her gallery’s mission is to put local art on a global stage. She is presenting jovial, spirit-like sculptures by Rainbo, Japanese-style illustrations by Ar Yip, as well as William Tong’s surreal landscapes, highlighting the artist’s love for the ocean and awareness of sustainability issues. 

Tong believes her range is “more suitable for AAFHK as the fair attracts visitors from all walks of life compared to Art Basel, where collectors know what they are looking for.” 

 Pop art by Szabotage. Represented by Art Supermarket. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

An exhibitor at AAF since 2014, Art Supermarket Director Michael Manzardo is all set to inject a shot of pop culture into this year’s fair. British street artist Szabotage explores the notion of personal freedom with a play on words in his works. French artist PLUM expresses his obsession for luxury and pop culture through extensive use of feathers. And South African Norman O’Flynn infuses everyday objects with a cynical, dark humor in his paintings. 

“AAF and Art Supermarket share the same philosophy. Art is not just for people to appreciate from afar, but should be accessible and affordable,” Manzardo says. AAF offers smaller galleries a chance to attract buyers by playing the creative-yet-affordable card, he adds. 

First-time AAFHK Director Zhang seems to be gearing up for the fair’s 2022 edition already.

“Moving forward, we expect to face the same difficulties even at the AAF next May. Travel restrictions may still be in place, for instance,” she says. “So what we try to do for artists is to give them as much opportunity as possible.”

 Ar Yip’s take on Alice in Wonderland. Represented by Art Current. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

If you go

Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong

Date: Aug 26 to 29

Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai