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Celebrating street art in Hong Kong

By: Aoife MacKenzie

OOn the second weekend of April, if you were meandering around Sham Shui Po, you might have noticed a stream of the city’s artists (of all ages) trickling through the streets. They were on their way to create one of Hong Kong’s largest community art pieces. That weekend, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Hong Kong, the internationally renowned art and design university, hosted its signature event: the ninth annual SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival.

For the university, it was another of their meaningful contributions to the local art scene. And we don’t say that lightly – Over 400 creatives turned out to transform the campus with vibrantly unique street art in the form of Hong Kong’s largest chalkboard.

SCAD’s community events always attract a diverse mix of creatives, including prospective students, current university attendees, alumni and members of the public looking to flex their creativity. They all came together during this annual event to work both individually and collaboratively on chalk-art designs. They were also there to compete for coveted prizes.

Street Art

Creative community

“I always love this fabulous date on our calendar, and this year continues the colourful tradition, astonishing the judges with a vibrant display of originality and imagination from all the talented participants,” said SCAD Hong Kong’s Professor of Illustration, Xavier Pick.

Experienced artists from the university and budding talent from the community were encouraged to join in the festival, which resulted in a spirited variety of chalk-art masterpieces. SCAD visited high schools in the lead-up to the event, working closely with participating students to develop drawing skills and prepare in advance so they could maximise their enjoyment on the day.

While the artworks created by the alumni and students were mainly in a freestyle format, common themes were present throughout the designs. SCAD recently celebrated 40 years since its establishment, and, in recognition of this milestone, the number was intricately incorporated into many of the street murals. Some students chose to integrate elements of the university into their compositions, such as the SCAD Bee mascot and the SCAD40 logo.

Well-deserved rewards

Three lucky students won the coveted SCAD Spirit Prize. And other artists who participated on the day won accolades such as prizes for Best Group and Most Creative. In addition, the university granted fully and partially paid scholarships for SCAD summer programmes to a selection of worthy winners, along with a variety of other prizes. The competition was judged by three members of the SCAD faculty, including Professor Xavier Pick.

On the same day, the university took the opportunity to host one of its monthly Spotlight Days, where prospective students tour the facilities and engage in photography, painting and other workshops.

Savannah College of Art and Design is at 292 Tai Po Road, Sham Shui Po.

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This article first appeared in the June/July 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.