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Speech by CS at opening ceremony of exhibition "Light and Shadows - Caravaggio · The Italian Baroque Master" (English only) (with photos/video)
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     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary, Mrs Carrie Lam, delivered at the opening ceremony of the exhibition "Light and Shadows - Caravaggio íP The Italian Baroque Master" at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center this evening (March 11):

Ronnie (Co-chair of the Asia Society, Mr Ronnie Chan), Alessandra (Consul General of Italy in Hong Kong, Ms Alessandra Schiavo), Brian (Chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Mr Brian Stevenson), Alice (Executive Director of the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, Ms S Alice Mong), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. It is my great pleasure to join you at the opening ceremony of the exhibition "Light and Shadows - Caravaggio íP The Italian Baroque Master".

     It is always good for me to come back to the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, whether it is for an exhibition of this nature or a dinner gathering or a symposium. This is a place that I love in Hong Kong.

     I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to the Consulate General of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute for the successful launching of this exhibition at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, a unique heritage site in Hong Kong.

     Following the successful exhibition of another Italian masterpiece, Botticelli's "Venus", last year, we are thrilled to see another masterpiece, "Supper at Emmaus" by Caravaggio, is brought to Hong Kong. "Supper at Emmaus" is one of Caravaggio's most important works. The subject of this painting was taken from the New Testament, the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus Christ revealed himself to his disciples following his resurrection. The successful painting of the scene by Caravaggio has made it a textbook piece for any art student. I am delighted that this precious Italian treasure is now shared with the local community here in Hong Kong.

     Furthermore, the exhibition also features contemporary works created by Hong Kong artists - they are Chow Chun-fai, So Hing-keung, Tsang Kin-wah and Wucius Wong - demonstrating how techniques found in Caravaggio's paintings were adopted centuries later as well as showcasing the creativity of our local talents.

     I am also very pleased to learn that during and beyond the exhibition period, educational activities including workshops, drawing tours and a series of lectures will be organised for students and the general public. I am sure these activities will help enhance the local community's ability in art appreciation. Indeed, promoting art education is one of the measures the Hong Kong SAR Government has adopted to strengthen our culture software and to build audiences, which are especially important as we are pressing ahead with the West Kowloon Cultural District project.

     Italy is a country with great cultural depth and has influenced world culture over centuries. Our museums have presented a number of blockbuster exhibitions in collaboration with different Italian cultural institutions and brought valuable exhibits ranging from art to science for the Hong Kong public. We look forward to more opportunities of cultural exchanges between Hong Kong and Italy in the future.

     I would like to take this opportunity to again express my heartfelt appreciation to the Consulate General of Italy in Hong Kong and the Italian Cultural Institute, as well as Asia Society Hong Kong Center and, more importantly, the one who pays, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for their collaboration, which makes this exhibition possible.

     I wish also to pay particular tribute to two ladies who have made this possible, that is, bringing Caravaggio's painting to Hong Kong. And they are Alessandra, the Italian Consul General, and Alice, Asia Society Hong Kong Center's Executive Director. Their passion, dedication and hard work is simply admirable. So can I invite you to join me in giving the two ladies a round of applause?

     Lastly, may I wish you all a very enjoyable evening and the exhibition a huge success. Thank you very much.

Ends/Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:50

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