JCCAC handicraft market & studio visit

Posted on March 24, 2013 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments



Last weekend, I found out about a handicraft fair at the multi-disciplinary art centre, JCCAC ( Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre) in Shek Kip Mei and decided to pay a visit. I came here with a friend when it first opened in 2008 and it was almost empty with very few working studios. Today, there are over 100 artists, designers and art organisations are working here, and so the vibe is completely different and extremely lively.




This award winning architectural conversion from the former Shek Kip Mei Factory Estate is located in area of Kowloon full of low-cost housing estates, so along the route from the MTR station, you can see the lives of the locals that are not normally depicted in the official tourism brochures.

Many of the original architectural details have been preserved, I especially like the bold typography and numbers of the floors on the walls and staircases. Each floor also display old factory machinery either made in the area or were used within the facility including large letterpress machines.




Surprisingly, there were more stalls and vendours than I expected; however, it was so packed that it was impossible for me to get near to the stalls! Hence, I decided to go upstairs to visit artists' studios and exhibition areas instead...

I was quite pleasantly surprised by the variety of work on display, and to see so many local artists, illustrators, designers and architects all working within a creative space/ environment was encouraging especially in a city where rental prices are so ridiculously inflated.




Wandering around I came across a studio where I met and chatted to a Nepalese lady who was making bookmarks from dyed paper she brought back from Nepal. She then explained that they are part of YMCA and their project's aim is to support ethnic minority housewives who reside in Hong Kong. Their Cheung Sha Wan centre also sells other South Asian handicrafts either imported or made by these housewives. In the exhibition area, there were also drawings and art work produced by ethnic minority children and youths who are part of the "Future artist" project, initiated by the Sham Shui Po Community Creative Arts Resources Centre. There is also a website dedicated to the community with videos of their multicultural members sharing their stories in "3-minute stories".



Projects by Sham Shui Po Community Creative Arts Resources Centre, part of YMCA HK


I think this visit has ensured me that the local art and creative industry is growing and being supported by the locals; however, without government's support, it will be hard for local artists, designers and craftsmen to survive on their own. A thriving creative industry is important for cities around the world now, it adds value and competitiveness to the city, so every government should acknowledge this instead of simply relying on the industries like tourism. Perhaps the World Design Capital can be an incentive for governments to value and understand the importance of this industry.



Old machinery and roof top garden


You can click on the link to view more photos via the Facebook album.



This post was posted in Hong Kong, Exhibitions, Architecture, Travel, Graphics & illustrations, Art, Hong Kong design, Design, Chinese art and was tagged with Hong Kong, art and design exhibitions, architecture, Hong Kong design