Hong Kong has already been drawing attention from all continents as a cultural hub thanks to the city's high-profile gallery openings such as White Cube, Sotheby's (due to open in May) and the Gagosian. Now, a rigorous programme centered around the arts is set to take place at the end of this month, mixing cultural heroes from the West with some of China’s finest homegrown talents.
The Hong Kong International Festival of Culture - a celebration of art, design, fashion, literature, film and music - is the long-imagined project of the London-based cultural diplomacy organisation Liberatum, with sponsorship from eyewear brand Carrera and support from the British Council. Liberatum founder and artistic director Pablo Ganguli, along with his directors and producers, wrangled together a gang of personalities who likely have never before appeared in the same room, let alone on the same bill.
Filmmakers like Paul Schrader and Mike Figgis will hobnob cross-culturally with Hong Kong film producer Nansun Shi during the three-day ‘cultural convention’, held in the hills on the south side of Hong Kong island. Meanwhile, Figgis will preside over a festival of short films featuring the novelist Siri Hustvedt and performance artist Marina Abramovic, among other disparate artists.
Attendees include architects from Rem Koolhaas's OMA, who will exchange ideas with Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani, pianist Rosey Chan and Chinese-Canadian artist Terence Koh.
Headlining the lecture series are American rapper and producer Pharrell Williams (a former Wallpaper* Design Awards 2011 judge), Irish milliner Philip Treacy and British architect Thomas Heatherwick. Liberatum will also present a special showcase of work by photographer Guy Bourdin.