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Speech by CS at opening ceremony of "Claude Monet: The Spirit of Place" exhibition (English Only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the opening ceremony of the "Claude Monet: The Spirit of Place" exhibition this evening (May 3):

Eric (Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, Mr Eric Berti), Andrew (Chairman of the Board of Directors of Le French May, Dr Andrew Yuen), Mr Cheung Leong (Executive Director, Charities and Community of The Hong Kong Jockey Club), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Bonsoir. It gives me great pleasure to join you here at the opening ceremony of the "Claude Monet: The Spirit of Place" exhibition, which is, allow me to say, the highlight of this year's Le French May Arts Festival.

     This is also a great personal pleasure for me as Claude Monet is one of my most admired painters, to the extent that I travelled all the way to his home at Giverny in France and my little museum collections are full of Monet's - from books, posters, calendars to mugs, notepads and bookmarks! So how wonderful to be able to see these great works in Hong Kong, thanks to Le French May.

     Indeed, the Le French May has become one of the largest French art festivals held annually in Asia, and has brought an authentic taste of French culture to Hong Kong. Building on the success of the "Picasso - Masterpieces from Musée National Picasso, Paris" exhibition held four years ago, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department collaborates with the Le French May Arts Festival again to jointly present another exhibition to showcase great works of art by world-class painters. Claude Monet was not only one of the greatest landscape artists in the history of painting, but also a prominent figure of French Impressionism in the 19th century. We are delighted to have the privilege and honour to showcase 17 splendid and emblematic landscape paintings of Monet, assembled from 11 museums in France and private collections, in this exhibition at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

     The concerted efforts of the community over the years have successfully enabled the art scene in Hong Kong to flourish. I would like to pay tribute to all those involved in the exhibition for bringing Monet's masterpieces to Hong Kong. It would not have been possible without the ardent support and passionate efforts from the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, the Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais and Le French May.

     Much gratitude and appreciation, of course, also goes to the sponsors - the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and Mr and Mrs Cheung Chung-Kiu.

     There is indeed a burgeoning arts scene in Hong Kong. We have just hosted a series of major art events, such as Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Central and the Hong Kong Arts Festival in March. Also on our breath-taking art calendar are other art fairs, such as the annual Fine Art Asia.  This home-grown event has evolved as one of Asia's best international fine art fairs since its inception in 2006. These aside, exciting public art installations in Central, namely Sir Antony Gormley's Event Horizon Hong Kong and the Lynn Chadwick exhibition, have also been under the spotlight in the past few months.

     Those who are familiar with Hong Kong may also be aware that we are pressing ahead with the development of the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) project, which is a long-term strategic investment made by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to lift Hong Kong's position as an international art and culture metropolis. As part of the West Kowloon Cultural District, the Museum Plus (M+), which is the flagship world-class museum for visual culture, is scheduled to open in 2019. We are also in the course of renovating the Hong Kong Museum of Art with a view to enhancing the museum and adding 40 per cent more exhibition space for staging more mega exhibitions. When the museum re-opens three years later, there will be a permanent gallery dedicated to works by Hong Kong artists, providing an important platform for them to showcase their works. I believe all these new initiatives will provide Hong Kong with more first-rate gallery space for hosting local and international exhibitions such as the "Claude Monet: The Spirit of Place" exhibition.

     Lastly, may I wish this exhibition a resounding success and all of you an enjoyable evening. Thank you very much.

Ends/Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Issued at HKT 21:42


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