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HK Art Week Insider: Andres Vejarano, Supporter and Patron

In just a few short years Hong Kong has positioned herself smack bang at the centre of the art world – chokka with modern galleries and sitting pretty at the doorstep of east and west. In the lead-up to 2016 Art Week, we sat down with a few of the city’s leading characters to find out what’s on their radar and where they unwind after all that action. Andres Vejarano is a patron of Para Site and supporter of non-profit space Things that can happen.

Tell us about you, and what you think about Hong Kong’s art scene?

I’m a Colombian-Australian lucky to live in this great city for 14 years. By day, I am the regional Asia MD for global communications firm DeVries Global.

In terms of art scene, amazing fairs like Art Basel, Art Central along with dynamic galleries and auction houses continue to drive the commercial scene, and there’s a vibrant and growing grass-roots arts community, connecting artists, curators, art spaces, gallerists and collectors. This [community] is supported by the valuable work of organisations like Para SiteSpring WorkshopAsia Art ArchiveThings that can happen.

But the biggest hole is public art – Hong Kong lags behind. We are still longing for the opening of the M+ museum and seeing more civic art initiatives. Hopefully, bureaucracy won’t suppress the energy public art brings to a city.

Who are you are most excited about seeing this year?

At Basel I am interested to see US artist Jeremy Everett’s works featured by Edouard Malingue Gallery, Wu Tsang’s haunting Duilian which I was lucky enough to see recently at Spring Workshop, and I always enjoy seeing my friend HK artist Lee Kit’s latest oeuvre.

I’ll walk over to Art Central to be chilled by the pheasant feather creations of Kate MccGwire, and the brushstrokes of Liu Shou-Kwan at Rasti Chinese Art.

My tips for visitors… Hop in a cab and visit Para Site’s powerful Afterwork exhibition unlocking migrant workers’ stories, and see M+ Sigg Collection at ArtisTree (Quarry Bay) – a staggering collection of contemporary Chinese art. 

Then get out of the booths and Champagne-swigging VIP enclosures, hit the city’s pavements and enjoy the public art all around you. Highlights are the ‘hoarding takeover’ by 10 Hong Kong contemporary artists, including Frog King at H Queen’s Time & Scale; Tatsuo Miyajima’s illumination of the ICC building, and the urban intervention of Portuguese graffiti artist Vhils at Pier 4 – I recently saw his work on the streets of his hometown Lisbon.

And where can we find you after-hours? 

For an after-show negroni or Champagne I’ll pop to usual suspects and scenesters Duddell’s and The Upper House; for fine wine and cheese in hushed tones it has to be Caprice; or gin at hipster escape Ping Pong.

For a bite I will head to Mott32 or Ho Lee Fook for yummy mod Chinese, Arcane for relaxed, sophisticated mod-Euro, and Sushi Kuu for buzzy Japanese. Close by to Basel are Italian Pirata or Spanish grill The Optimist.

Fantasy dinner party. Who’s invited and what’s on the menu?

I would invite French-American artist Louise Bourgeois, my fellow countryman, Colombian figurative artist Fernando Botero, and Chinese female artist Xiao Lu.

I’m not quite sure why they were first on the invite list, or if they would even show up. But each is a raw, one-of-a-kind, wildly unconventional artist who works across different media. Dinner could end up very messy, a sculpture made from the sea urchin starter, a splat on the neighbour’s door, which was once the salmon and seaweed main, or an ad-hoc performance juggling the chocolate mousse and cheese. Wine, what wine? I lost track.

Follow Andres on Instagram at @andresve3.

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