Hong Kong Street Art You Must Explore – Photo Essay

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Hong Kong Street Art is something I had read about, but it was not something that I went looking out for. It came to me as I walked around the city.

Street Art is the most visual of art forms, especially in the big urban centers of the world. It is becoming a rage in most cities. Some of them think they are beautifying the city while others add a layer of cities character on its walls. As you walk through the streets – these works of art catch your eye & ask you to stop for a moment to admire them, before you move on.

Hong Kong Street Art or Graffiti
Hong Kong Street Art or Graffiti – Image Source – Shutterstock

In Hong Kong, I found street art mostly in the happening Hong Kong Island – not counting the graffiti that was ubiquitous in the back lanes of the city.

Hong Kong Street Art

Come with me for a virtual tour of Hong Kong Street Art.

Street Art outside Hong Kong Museum of History
Street Art outside the Hong Kong Museum of History

I saw the first street art right outside the Hong Kong Museum of history in the typical color of China – yellow and red. I must say that the treatment of the mural was quite modern though.

Hong Kong Street Art on the Doors of Old Town
Hong Kong Street Art on the Doors of Old Town

Next day at Ocean Park, while walking in the Old Hong Kong Street I saw this door full of Chinese writing. I can’t say if these are some instructions, some story or some prayers, but I found this quite a unique way of painting the doors. In fact, the door is designed in long panels to accommodate this writing.

Human Skull at Ocean Park
Human Skull at Ocean Park

At another place, I saw this small pole – a chain holder in the shape of a human skull.

Bird Market
Bird Market

On my Kowloon exploration, I loved this long mural in pastel colors outside the bird market. The mural is the most beautiful part of this market.

On a walk around downtown Hong Kong, I found these lovely sculptures – yes, right on the streets – contributing to Hong Kong Street Art.

Hong Kong City Hall Memorial Garden & Shrine

Memorial Outside the Hong Kong City Hall
Memorial Outside the Hong Kong City Hall

This sculpture is memorial to those who lives during the second world war between 1941-45. It keeps reminding you of the city’s past that has blood on it.

Abstract Art - Hong Kong Street Art
Abstract Art – Hong Kong Street Art

Bang opposite in the middle of a pool of water stood these 4 panels with some abstract art on them. Every time I thought of interpreting them, I saw something different, negating what I had seen earlier, so I leave it to you the reader to make your own interpretations.

Stephen & Sttit – The HSBC Lions

Stephen - The HSBC Lion in Hong Kong
Stephen – The HSBC Lion in Hong Kong

The Stephen and Stitt are two lions cast in bronze that sit proudly outside the HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong. Stephen and Sttit get their name from the then managers of HSBC Bank when they were first created for the Shanghai office in 1923. The ones in Hong Kong came up in 1935. A third pair came up in 2001 for the bank’s London office.

Sttit - the peaceful HSBC Lion
Sttit – the peaceful HSBC Lion

There is a curious story about their installation. Like everything in Hong Kong, they had to be installed at a time prescribed by the Feng Shui masters. The time was late into the night and the HSBC did open its office at night to comply with the Feng Shui.

Stephen is in a roaring pose symbolizing aggression and hunger while Sttit is in peaceful, almost yogic pose sitting on his hunches. Sculptures carry the signature of the sculpture W W Wagstaff.

Bank of China Lions

Bank of China Lion
Bank of China Lion

The Bank of China building which is an immediate neighbor of the HSBC building also has its own pair of Lions outside their building. These are made of stone and look far more Chinese in character.

Original Lion sculptures of Bank of China
Original Lion sculptures of Bank of China

However, you have to hear the story of their making. The first set of lions created for this building are right behind the building. You literally laugh at the amateurish treatment of lions in these.

With all these stories, you can figure out how important lion guardians are for the banks.

Woman Aflame by Salvador Dali

Woman Aflame by Salvador Dali - Hong Kong Street Art
Woman Aflame by Salvador Dali – Hong Kong Street Art

Acclaimed Artist Salvador Dali claims his space in Hong Kong outside Landmark with his sculpture titled Woman Aflame. It is a curious sculpture that shows a woman in a metal cast hiding her face and pushing the world away, bent backward. Go ahead, make your own interpretations.

 

Grain of Rice

Gain of Rice Sculpture - Hong Kong Street Art
Grain of Rice Sculpture – Hong Kong Street Art

This tall bronze sculpture standing behind the HSBC building is bound to make you question what this could be. Honestly, I would have never guessed this is an artist’s interpretation of a grain of rice. Could you have guessed?

Soundscape on China’s National Anthem

Soundscape based on Xylophone
Soundscape based on Xylophone

This is a sculpture based on Xylophone – it is set to the tune of China’s national anthem. It is also a public furniture where you can sit and admire the tall skyscrapers on one side and ocean on the other.

Scent of Spring

Scent of Spring, a sculpture depicting butterflies
The Scent of Spring, a sculpture depicting butterflies

This artist tried to tell us that we must sustain the environment for the butterflies. This reminded me of the Art Trail at Changi Airport.

Hong Kong Street Art to give you company
Hong Kong Street Art to give you company

Walking around, I came across these long sitting benches, bifurcated by cardboard style caricatures.

Lastly, I walked on the Hollywood Road with its Man Mo Temple, its street markets, its happening cafes and I came across some interesting street art:

Hollywood Road Street Art
Hollywood Road Street Art
Walls of Hollywood Street
Walls of Hollywood Street
Lanes leading to Hollywood Street
Lanes leading to Hollywood Street
Cafes at Hollywood Street - Hong Kong Street Art
Cafes at Hollywood Street – Hong Kong Street Art
Graffiti in the back alleys of Hong Kong
Graffiti in the back alleys of Hong Kong

Cafes and restaurants on the streets connecting Hollywood road to upper or lower streets announced themselves with loud murals. There was art standing on the street as statues. T

Statutes standing on the street corners - Hong Kong Street Art
Statues standing on the street corners – Hong Kong Street Art

All these works of art keep you engaged as you walk down the busy street.

More Street Art Posts for you:

Bandra Street Art in Mumbai.

Street Art in Bratislava, Slovakia.


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43 COMMENTS

  1. I have been to Hong Kong three times and your post brings a new touch to the city. Looks like some of these are new or probably I missed them. But agree, Hong Kong has so much to explore. 🙂

    Must go to Hollywood street next time. 🙂

  2. It seems like Hong Kong is filled with amazing murals and beautiful sculptures. The street art is all over the city, which is really stunning. And they are all so different and each one tells a different story about various cultures.

    • Sabine – What I liked in Hong Kong is that it is not just wall murals, but there are the art installations that tell the story of the city or its main businesses or some to remember the past. Like you said, a lot of variety.

  3. what an amazing collection of diverse styles of street art you found in Hong Kong! I love street art in my travels and the ones you found in Hong Kong dont disappoint. That is totally bizarre that you found a human scull chain holder.
    I love all the lions you found there too.

  4. I have been wanting to go to Hong Kong for years! I am so sad we didn’t make it while we were already in Asia for a few years. I also love finding great street art and murals in cities, they are just so fun to photograph and some are even more interesting because of their meaning. I would love to hunt all these down!

  5. Thank you for taking us through the street art of Hong Kong. I had absolutely no idea that there was a Dali sculpture! Hong Kong seems to have lots to see and do, I hope to make my way there some time soon!

  6. Very interesting street art and sculptures, didn’t think Hong Kong had so many! Some of them are even quirky, like the chain holder in the shape of a human skull. The Bank of China Lions are pretty interesting too 🙂

  7. Wow I never expected to see street art in Hong Kong and then too such detailed street art. I wonder what the words are saying on those doors and in fact it gave me an idea for my own home which I can implement hopefully. The most beautiful wall art on top is the bird market! I would be standing in front of it in awe by the details because I really like to complete similar paintings. You brought some inspiration here Anuradha. 🙂

  8. Hong Kong is high on my bucket list but I have to admit street art was not one of the reasons. That is, of course, before I read your post. I think the streets look amazing and you did a great job in immortalizing them. Can’t wait to go there!

  9. I never realised that there is such much street art In Hong Kong. There are some gorgeous representations here. I would not have guessed what that the grain of rice was . I can understand it’s significance, but find it a bit odd. I also love the mural at the bird market. The colours are stunning.

  10. I really love street art. I have only ever spotted it around the man mo temple district so I obviously haven’t been paying attention enough in Hong Kong. I love the cardboard People and the Hollywood Street painting.

  11. Thanks for the tour! The original bank of china lions are so funny! I had no idea that the HSBC lions started in China. Looks like a great street art destination!

  12. I absolutely love street art, but I hadn’t heard of hong Kong being a destination for that! Clearly, it absolutely is! The bird market mural is my favorite! I can’t wait to make it to Hong Kong and explore it myself!

  13. A little contemporary and a little traditional- Hong Kong seems to have a good mix of the two arts. Personally prefer the vibrant mix than the modern art left to interpretation like the rice grain. I definitely would not have guessed that. And the skull is. Quite… Creepy

  14. Wow. I didn’t know there are street arts as beautiful as these. I can’t seem to favorite any of these, neither do I understand them but I do appreciate the creativity and genuity of the artists. These street arts are sights to behold. And what a gift to bump into these like you did.

  15. What a fun art-filled walk around Hong Kong! Ever time I read a blog about HK it just makes me want to go there more and this post is no exception. I think my favorites are all the wall murals on Hollywood street and the cartoon lion statues behind the Bank of China – I definitely want to hear the story about how they came to be!

  16. I am a big fan of street art and have seen some incredible cities that offer it but WOW this looks insane. Really unique art by the looks of it. Would love the HSBC lions for my house!

  17. These are some incredible art works! These kind of works add character to the city. They sure have some very talented and creative people. I am keen to do some photography there. Hopefully some day.

  18. I personally love to explore new places and especially this street art. These finest art are just amazingly wow.
    Wish I could visit it once.

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