While many art lovers flocked to Asia’s biggest premium art fair in Hong Kong’s commercial heart, a different kind of non traditional, rustic art movement was taking place down south in Wong Chuk Hang, at that very same moment.

The annual HKwalls festival is a live street art event that has coloured the old and monotonous walls of  Sheung Wan, Stanley Market, and Sham Shui Po. This year it had decided to leave its mark on the industrial neighbourhood of Wong Chuk Hang.

HKwalls 2014 | © Mark Goss

HKwalls 2015 | © Hopare

HKwalls 2016 | © Okuda

HKwalls is a non-profit organization whose aim is to make the street art and graffiti lifestyle, more accessible to the general masses. It does this through a yearly festival, to which artists from around the globe are invited to participate.

This project was started by Jason Dembski and Stan Wu, in 2014. Jason was a former architecture student who moved to Hong Kong from the United States. While living in the States, he fell in love with the art form popularly termed “graffiti” and the powerful culture created around it.

Stan Wu and Jason Dembski | Photography from Vans Hong Kong

On his visit to Hong Kong, he was immediately drawn to the local street art scene, which he began to document in his photography blog called “HK Street Art”. He became ingrained in the brotherhood of the city’s street and graffiti artists’, collaborating with a number of them on the “Work in Progress” exhibition in 2013, which paved the way for HKwalls.

HKwalls is completely legal and takes place with the permission of all the participating store owners. Most of them are generally open to art and enjoy having their walls painted on. This year, the festival took place in Wong Chuk Hang from March 18-26. This festival not only gave people a wonderful opportunity to see street artists in action, but also elevated the area’s reputation for arts, through the varied styles displayed.

HKwalls | Photography from Vans Hong Kong

The organization continued its partnerships with Vans on this embarked journey, with plans to launch workshops for schools in the Southside in the latter half of this year. Plans for an artist residency and exchange program are also in development.

“As the headline sponsor for 2 consecutive years, we are happy to see HKwalls Festival pushing their mission to provide a platform that showcases best in local and international artists. HKwalls shares the same values that Vans holds dear and is a great opportunity to support local commitments to Hong Kong’s creative community.”

-Mathew Morgan, Marketing Director of Vans APAC.

 

Above-secondcom. 2017. Work in Progress. [18 June 2013]. Above-secondcom. [Online]. [22 March 2017]. Available from: http://blog.above-second.com/2013/06/work-in-progress/

Hkwallsorg. 2017. Hkwallsorg. [Online]. [22 March 2017]. Available from: http://hkwalls.org/about/

Hkwallsorg. 2017. Hkwallsorg. [Online]. [22 March 2017]. Available from: http://hkwalls.org/festivals/2017-wong-chuk-hang/2017-timetable/

Vans. 2017. Vans Hong Kong Official Site. [Online]. [22 March 2017]. Available from: http://www.vans.com.hk/en/article/hkwalls-2017/