“Our gallery was the first galley in Wong Chuk Hang. It was opened in 2010. I bought this place in 2008. Before we came, it was a laundry factory. The factory had shut down for some time. It took me two years to figure out that this place should be a gallery. For galleries, space dictates scale. Artists also need room to unleash their potential. It is natural that galleries move out from Central or open another space, taking advantage of the industrial spaces in Hong Kong.
When the gallery first opened, there were no visitors. Wong Chuk Hang was an industrial area. So we opened another gallery in Aberdeen Street, Central. That space was only about one tenth of the space here. We gave up the Aberdeen Street space four years ago because it was no longer needed. An arts community has emerged in Wong Chuk Hang. We have galleries, artists’ studios and non-profit art spaces here. Visitors come every day. Generally, students and art-lovers come on weekdays, and art-investors visit during weekends. The arts community is much smaller here than in Central. People are tightly connected and communicate more. I am happy to witness and help nurture this budding community.
Wong Chuk Hang has changed a lot because of gentrification. It was an industrial area six years ago. I couldn’t find a place for eating-out during lunch hours. Now, there are cafes and plenty of choices in terms of food. There are upside and downsides. Upsides, we have more visitors, including arts-visitors. You need a place for coffee after visiting galleries. But hotels also bring in tourists, who are shipped in by coaches. There are mainland tourists and Indian tourists. They come here to shop. Walking on the streets, seeing the tourists, the experience is rather surreal.
The thing we look forward to the most is the MTR. Traffic is bad and it gets worse as the area grows and visitors increase. I live in Pokfulam, traffic at the Aberdeen Tunnel doesn’t bother me. But it affects my colleagues. So everyone in the gallery are looking forward to the opening of the South Island Line.”