Wednesday 26 June 2019

The British Council launches new artist-in-residence programme for emerging Hong Kong artists

Pioneering initiative to be funded by the proceeds from the auction of neon artwork by rising British Chinese artist Faye Wei Wei 

The British Council in Hong Kong has provided a welcome boost for the city’s homegrown art scene with the launch of a trailblazing new project aimed at developing the next generation of Hong Kong artists. The British Council Artist-in-Residence Programme 2019-20 will see one Hong Kong-based emerging artist embark on a 10-week long residency programme between January and March 2020 at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) in Manchester, UK. 

This initiative will be funded by the proceeds from the auction of the neon artwork Frail Silver of The Climbing Stars by rising, young British Chinese artist Faye Wei Wei. The artwork was auctioned by Philips for HK$80,000 on 25 June during a special arts event co-hosted by the auction house and the British Council to celebrate creativity and cultural exchange between the UK and Hong Kong. 

Frail Silver of The Climbing Stars was originally commissioned by the British Council and sponsored by Phillips as part of the Neon Spark project for the inaugural SPARK: The Science and Art of Creativity, a British Council Festival of Ideas held at Tai Kwun in January 2019. It was fabricated in neon by one of Hong Kong’s last remaining neon light masters, paying homage to the creativity and skill of the artisans whose work once lit up Hong Kong’s streets.  

This new artist-in-residence initiative is the first-ever collaboration between the British Council in Hong Kong and the CFCCA, which – through its exhibitions, events, artist residencies, collaborations and research projects – has been a leader in bringing Chinese contemporary art and visual culture to a UK audience for more than 30 years. 

The CFCCA has a long history working with artists, curators and researchers from, based in or connected with Hong Kong. The centre was originally founded as the Chinese View Art Association (CVAA) in Manchester in 1986, led by Hong Kong-born artist Amy Lai, to foster a positive understanding of Chinese identity and culture within the local Chinese community and the general British public.

In 2018, Faye Wei Wei exhibited new works at CFCCA as part of the Concepts of Gender season. In 2017, in collaboration with Manchester International Festival, CFCCA worked with Hong Kong artists Samson Young, Kingsley Ng, João Vasco Paiva, MAP Office and Ellen Pau. The same year, the centre organised From Ocean to Horizon, a group exhibition featuring established and emerging artists from Hong Kong, most of whom had previously never exhibited in the UK, including Ko Sin Tung, Sarah Lai, Trevor Yeung, Au Hoi Lam, Tang Kwok Hin and Kong Chun Hei. 

Following in this tradition, this brand-new residency in partnership with the British Council will give an emerging Hong Kong artist an international platform to raise their profile, dedicated space and time to develop projects with curatorial and practical support from CFCCA’s team.

Through the programme, the artist will be provided with a purpose-built studio featuring a working and living space; financial support for research, development and production of new work; travel between Hong Kong and Manchester and subsistence. It is hoped that the new work created during the residency will be exhibited as part of the next SPARK festival, which is scheduled to take place in Hong Kong in 2021. 

An open call to find the resident artist will be launched in September 2019, with a judging panel made up of experts from the British Council, Phillips and CFCCA. The selected artist will be announced in November 2019.

Antony J. Chan, Head, Arts and Creative Industries, British Council in Hong Kong, said:

“The UK and Hong Kong have a vibrant and established tradition of nurturing cultural and artistic exchange, and the British Council is thrilled to begin another chapter in that story with the launch of this pioneering artist-in-residence programme in collaboration with CFCCA.”

Nick Wilson, General Manager, Phillips, Asia, said: 

“Phillips is committed to supporting Hong Kong’s art scene, so we are naturally delighted to be part of this ground-breaking initiative that demonstrates how the entire art ecosystem – from grassroots artists to institutions to the commercial side – can work in harmony to create value for all.”

Zoe Dunbar, Director, CFCCA, said:

“CFCCA has a long history of working with emerging and established artists from Hong Kong and Greater China to provide a space for conversation, debate and cultural exchange. This new artist-in-residence programme in partnership with the British Council continues in that field and we are delighted to be taking a significant step towards developing the next generation of Hong Kong artists.”

Artist Faye Wei Wei said:

“Artist-in-residence programmes are an extremely valuable resource for emerging talents, and so the launch of this initiative is great news for artists in Hong Kong. I am honoured that proceeds from the sale of the work I created for the Neon Spark project will be used to give an emerging Hong Kong artist this priceless opportunity.

Photos and video are available here for use

Keep up to date with the British Council in Hong Kong on social media:

Facebook: BritishCouncilHongKong 

Instagram: @britishcouncilhk 

Twitter: @hkBritish

Notes to Editor

About the Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA)

CFCCA is a unique art gallery based in Manchester, with a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and artist residencies. With over 30 years’ experience of working with emerging and established artists it provides a space for conversation, debate and cross-cultural exchange with a focus on China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the global diaspora.

About Faye Wei Wei 

British painter Faye Wei Wei graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2016, and has gone on to exhibit internationally. Her bold, poetic works quiver with a lively, lyrical motion, combining classical poise with vibrant immediacy. Faye is represented by Cob Gallery, London. Faye’s artwork, which has been fabricated into neon for ‘Neon Spark’, is called Frail Silver of The Climbing Stars.

About Phillips

Phillips is a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century art and design. With dedicated expertise in the areas of 20th Century and Contemporary Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewellery, Phillips offers professional services and advice on all aspects of collecting. Auctions and exhibitions are held at salerooms in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, while clients are further served through representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips also offers an online auction platform accessible anywhere in the world.  In addition to providing selling and buying opportunities through auction, Phillips brokers private sales and offers assistance with appraisals, valuations, and other financial services. Visit for further information.


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, working with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. This past year, the British Council has reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including through broadcasts, publications and online. The organisation makes a positive contribution to the countries it works with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934, the British Council is a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. It receives 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government and has been working with Hong Kong since 1948.