Speech by CS and Chairman of Board of WKCD Authority at Dedication of M+ Pavilion (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration and Chairman of the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) Authority, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the Dedication of M+ Pavilion in the WKCD today (July 22):

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Dedication of the M+ Pavilion, the first permanent facility to open in the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) since the Development Plan was approved in January 2013. Although this facility is modest in scale, its completion marks a significant milestone in the development of this major cultural undertaking in Hong Kong. As I mentioned to the media following the 53rd meeting of the WKCD Authority Board earlier this week, the opening of the M+ Pavilion will soon be followed by the opening of the Xiqu Centre in 2018, the Art Park including the Freespace with a black box theatre and an outdoor stage from 2018 in stages, as well as the M+ Building in 2019. The Lyric Theatre Complex has also entered the detailed design stage and is expected to complete in 2020, to be opened in 2021.

     What also makes the M+ Pavilion special is that it is designed by a team of three Hong Kong-born, young and energetic architects: Vincent Pang of VPANG Architects Ltd, Tynnon Chow of JET Architecture Inc, and Lisa Cheung. They won the first prize in the international design competition for the Pavilion. Their design impressed the judges with its smart simplistic approach, which allows the Pavilion to set foot on the waterfront with unparalleled city skyline and harbour views, blend into its surroundings and landscape, and create a relaxing and stylish outdoor space. This is the reason why the WKCD Authority has specially arranged to have today's ceremony held in the evening in order to let our guests and friends enjoy this lovely Pavilion against the beautiful backdrop of the sunset and the magnificent harbour view. It is also worthwhile to mention that the M+ Pavilion is delivered on time and within budget.

     The opening of the M+ Pavilion enables us to have a better glimpse of what M+ and the WKCD will offer. It will serve as a primary exhibition space for M+ before the opening of the main museum building in 2019. Afterwards, it will be a ready venue for Hong Kong's visual culture community to stage exhibitions and events in the Cultural District.

     I am sure everyone is, as much as I do, looking forward to M+ with much anticipation. We can see from the construction site of the M+ building, which is just next to the Pavilion, that the building is taking shape as the construction work is proceeding at pace.

     On this auspicious occasion, let me reiterate that the WKCD is a long-term strategic investment by the HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) Government to promote the development of art and creative industries, meet the growing cultural needs of the public, attract and nurture artistic talents, and strengthen Hong Kong's position as an international art and cultural metropolis. Such a vision and commitment is something that should make us proud.

     Apart from building hardware, we also attach great importance to supporting the development of art in Hong Kong. The first show to be presented in this M+ Pavilion will be a solo exhibition to be presented by a young and talented Hong Kong artist, Mr Tsang Kin-wah, in September. The exhibition is an extension and expansion of Mr Tsang's work, The Infinite Nothing, which won him wide acclaim when it appeared in the 56th Venice Biennale last year.

     M+ has already taken great strides to engage the local community as well as to strengthen its connection with the artistic community by organising an array of exhibitions and public programmes including the well-received "Mobile M+: Live Art", "M+ Sigg Collection Exhibition" and "M+ Rover", to name just a few. M+ is also fully committed to teaching and nurturing the younger generation through docent volunteer programmes and regular internship schemes.

     All we have achieved so far would not be possible without the hard work and leadership of the former Museum Committee and the new M+ Board, both under the chairmanship of Victor Lo, who unfortunately is out of town today. I would also like to acknowledge the unwavering support of our friends - the artists, designers, architects, filmmakers, collectors and patrons. I am also grateful to the dedicated M+ team and all the exceptional people working on the WKCD project.

     On this special occasion of M+, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Ms Suhanya Raffel, our new Executive Director of M+. Suhanya is an expert in Asian contemporary art, with over 30 years of professional experience in museum management and a strong track record in curatorial, collection and exhibition work. We believe that, under her capable leadership, the M+ team will create a ground-breaking museum of visual culture in Hong Kong.

     The Dedication of the M+ Pavilion is a small but important step to the full realisation of the WKCD. We will continue to develop the WKCD into a world-class art and cultural hub where everyone may relax, be inspired and enjoy an extraordinary cultural experience.

     I will now say a few words in Cantonese.

Ends/Friday, July 22, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:40