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Speech by CS at Opening Ceremony of Hong Kong Exhibition at 56th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia (English only) (with photo)
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     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration and Chairman of the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Exhibition at the 56th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia in Venice, Italy today (May 7, Venice time):

Ambassador Li (China's Ambassador to Italy, Mr Li Ruiyu), Minister Ding (Vice Minister of Culture, Mr Ding Wei), Wilfred (Chairman of Hong Kong Arts Development Council, Dr Wilfred Wong), Victor (Chairman of Museum Committee of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Dr Victor Lo), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Welcome to the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Exhibition at the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale jointly presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and M+ of the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong.

     This is the second time that M+ collaborates with the Hong Kong Arts Development Council in bringing the work of a Hong Kong artist to the Venice Art Biennale, the world's most important event for contemporary art, after the successful collaboration in 2013.

     This year, we are happy to have Mr Tsang Kin-wah, a young and talented Hong Kong artist, bringing to us his video installations. Mr Tsang has created an ambitious new work consisting of four independent, yet linked, video projections, questioning the established systems of values and beliefs, as well as boundaries between truths and interpretations, and has the profound qualities that are not always seen in contemporary art.  His work has garnered numerous critical acclaims and international recognitions.  We are extremely proud of his achievement and thankful for his dedication to realising this project.

     M+ is Hong Kong's new museum for visual culture, focusing on 20th and 21st century art, design and architecture, and moving image from Hong Kong, China, Asia and beyond. The 60 000 square-metre M+ building will be an iconic landmark along the Victoria Harbour waterfront setting against the massive backdrop of skyscrapers.  It will house a full range of museum facilities such as display spaces, studios, learning and research areas, museum shops and cafes as well as plenty of public open spaces and greenery for arts-lovers and the general public to enjoy.

     In addition, M+ is also part of the wider West Kowloon Cultural District, which is a long-term strategic investment made by the HKSAR Government to transform a 40-hectare prime waterfront site into an integrated arts and cultural district with world-class arts and cultural facilities, commercial developments and a public park.  The facilities will start operation in stages.  Part of the park will be opened from the second half of this year, and the full park, with a blackbox theatre and an Arts Pavilion, as well as a Xiqu Centre for Chinese opera, are scheduled for completion in 2017.  M+ is targeted to complete the construction within 2018 with a view to opening the museum building in 2019.

     The West Kowloon Cultural District is a leading example of the HKSAR Government's commitment to promoting arts and culture in Hong Kong.  We endeavour to create an environment which is conducive to the freedom of artistic expression and creation, and the wider participation in cultural activities.  Apart from capital works expenditure, we also devote significant recurrent resources to promote arts and culture.  In 2015-16 alone, more than HKD 3.7 billion (around 444 million) will be spent.  In this regard, the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, apart from being M+'s partner in collaborating for the Hong Kong Exhibition here in the Venice Biennale, is a key player in its own right in promoting the development of the local arts sector, through cultivating up and coming artists and arts groups, enhancing public participation and fostering partnerships among the arts community.

     Hong Kong has a very vibrant and international cultural scene with numerous arts groups of various scales; and on average, more than 40 000 arts education and audience building programmes are staged every year.  I hope that all of you would be able to visit Hong Kong and the West Kowloon Cultural District in the years to come and enjoy an extraordinary cultural experience that embraces the best of both the East and the West.

     Last but not least, I would like to thank all of you for coming to our ceremony.  Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, May 7, 2015
Issued at HKT 23:31

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