M+ is one of several new art and heritage venues in Hong Kong. In fact, the bold plan envisaged an entire cultural area known as the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) covering 40 hectares of reclaimed land based on a plan by the British architectural firm Foster and Partners.
Easily reached by the Kowloon Station MTR, the slightly unassuming M+ looks like an upturned black book from the distance. But is much nicer on the inside, with two floors of gallery spaces that also offer striking view of both harbour and Hong Kong Island, as well as westwards toward Lantau Island. There is also a wonderful roof garden (pictured at top) and a Research Centre. Close-up there are some tile details that evoke Chinese temple architecture. The building was designed by the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron with the British firm Farrells.
There is a Main Hall Gallery and Moving Image Centre on the ground floor.
The second-floor features six gallery spaces; the West Gallery (201), the Sigg Galleries of contemporary Chinese art (201A-210), the Focus Gallery (211), the East Galleries (212-218), the South Galleries (219-226 & 230) the Cabinet (227) and the Courtyard Galleries (228-229). The building hosts three restaurants
The museum’s opening display featured around 1,500 works from across Asia, taking in various mediums and certainly attracting people of all ages and ethnicities. The M+ collection includes an eclectic mix of art, ceramics, sculpture, furniture, video, photography, architectural models, even a Thai tuktuk! The Chinese contemporary art collection of Dr. Uli Sigg, including works by Ai Weiwei, donated in 2012 is the founding core of the Museum’s collection.
I particularly enjoyed “Things, Spaces, Interactions” with its focus on design and architecture in Asia and Mi Gui’s Chinese Revolutionary Art posters from the 1950’s are fascinating from a historic and artistic perspective. Two hours was not enough. The English labelling of the pieces and their narratives are of the highest professionalism, which sadly is rare in Hong Kong these days.
Location: M+ West Kowloon Cultural District. 38 Museum Drive, Kowloon. Hong Kong SAR. China.
Admission: Free. However, you are recommended to book in advance through the website as a health and safety measure.
Opening Hours: Tuesdays to Thursdays: 10:00-22:00. Fridays: 10:00-22:00. Last entry is 30minutes before closing.
Closed: Mondays, (1st Jan) New Year’s Day, the first and second day of Luner New Year, Christmas Day (25th Dec)
Note - No flash photography. Free audio guides in English, Mandarin and Cantonese are available.
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Hailing from Mombasa, Kenya. Cliff's research interests began in 1982 when while working in “the Gulf” when he first travelled Asia following the routes of the epic voyages of the Fifteenth century Chinese admiral Zheng He. He later graduated with a BA(Hons) in Geography with Asian Studies in Northern Ireland. After a career in tourism Cliff became a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). He returned to historical research in 2001 on a variety of themes leading to an exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society on the Bombay Africans (2007) and is regarded as the world specialist on the subject. Cliff was Honorary Research Assistant to Royal Holloway's Geography Department (2011-2014) and Visiting Research Assistant to Dalian Maritime University, China (2011-2015). He was researcher-curator on the Bait-Jelmood Museum, Qatar (2013-2016) and research-curator for the National Museum of Qatar, specialising in the Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean (2016-2018). He is presently distance-working on the African collection of the Museum of Anthropology at Vancouver, Canada. Since 2016 Pereira is Visiting Research Assistant at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). He describes himself as a historical geographer and his life interest in Zheng He has led to talks and lectures on the subject in China, Malaysia, Canada, the UK and on the cruise liner Silver Muse. He has numerous papers and chapters in publications around the world.