[sponsored] Like the rest of the city, Hong Kong’s arts and culture institutions are facing political challenges and a brain drain of artists. Institutions, such as the Hong Kong Arts Festival have seen a new director. And concerns about self censorship in the sector flared after the Hong Kong Arts Development Council was criticised for funding films about the 2019 protests amid the national security law.

Hongkongers are becoming more interested in the arts, but are they seeing good, challenging works and displays? Are art venues responding to their demands? Or is a conservative bureaucracy stifling creativity and expression? What can young artists, writers, journalists, filmmakers and the public expect from institutional gate-keepers fearful of “crossing red lines”?

Meanwhile, overseas visitors have stopped coming to Hong Kong’s art fairs, auctions and gallery exhibitions due to Covid travel restrictions. Will the city lose its position as a major art trading hub in Asia? Are the city’s creative and arts scenes reflecting its malaise after the 2019 protests and continued Covid curbs? And will this all be temporary or permanent?

John Batten. Photo: David Clark.

John Batten, a veteran art critic, former gallerist and volunteer adviser to cultural institutions, including Tai Kwun, will give a wide-ranging talk on Hong Kong’s artistic landscape against the backdrop of political change, while sharing a drink with the audience at the atmospheric basement bar, Ping Pong Gintoneria.

It will be followed by a bilingual dialogue and Q&A with writer and host, Carol Lai, to share his insights of Hong Kong’s current and future creative direction.


  • Date: 4pm-5:30pm, Saturday, November 26, 2022.
  • Venue: Ping Pong Gintoneria 129 Second Street L/G Nam Cheong House Sai Ying Pun.
  • Tickets: HK$100 for HKJA members, HK$200 for non-members. Available online.

The event will be in English, with some limited Cantonese assistance.

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