Speech by CS at opening ceremony of "Refuse the Shadows of the Past: Five Years of Austrian Art Made in China" exhibition (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the opening ceremony of "Refuse the Shadows of the Past: Five Years of Austrian Art Made in China" exhibition this evening (July 3):
Consul General Claudia (Dr Claudia Reinprecht), Dr Steven Cannon, distinguished curators, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     It gives me great pleasure to join you today at the opening ceremony of the "Five Years of Austrian Art Made in China" exhibition.

     One of the objectives of our cultural policy is to create an environment conducive to the diversified and balanced development of culture and the arts. We truly believe that cultural exchanges can foster friendship and mutual understanding between two places, which helps promote our cultural diversity. It is our aim to develop Hong Kong into a hub of cultural exchanges.

     We are very glad that Hong Kong has been chosen by many countries and regions as a destination for showcasing the cultural talents and treasures of their homeland. Through a wide variety of exhibitions brought by our friends from overseas, mutual friendship has grown and our cultural soil has been fertilised.

     With the kind assistance of Claudia and her colleagues, I had the privilege of visiting the Essl Museum and MuseumsQuartier in Vienna, and seeing the spectacular artworks created by Austrian artists during my official visit to Austria in May. I was very impressed by the talents of the Austrian artists and very glad that we are able to host this meaningful exhibition in Hong Kong to showcase Austrian art to our local audience.

     In this extraordinary exhibition, the 60 Austrian artists show us the artworks they produced during their artist-in-residence stays in the Mainland of China in the last five years. And talking about artist-in-residence, I am very pleased to have received Claudia's letter telling me that there is an invitation for scholarship to do artist-in-residence in Vienna. I hope that if we have any local artist in the audience, please take note of this invitation and apply for the scholarship. The everyday encounters of these 60 Austrian artists, as well as the social, cultural, lingual or visual experiences they engaged in, all contributed to their understanding of Chinese culture and have become their inspiration and references for artistic creation. The presence of these 60 Austrian artists at the local community in China, their interaction with the people, as well as the art created as the fruits of that interaction, have undoubtedly facilitated the mutual understanding of the two cultures.

     I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Consul General of Austria to Hong Kong and Macau for bringing this splendid exhibition to Hong Kong. I wish the exhibition every success and all of you a pleasant experience enjoying these great artworks.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Thursday, July 3, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:35