The hugely-popular Standard Chartered Arts in the Park – Hong Kong’s iconic annual outdoor youth arts event – returns to Victoria Park in Causeway Bay on 2 and 3 December.
Organised by Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation (HKYAF), Standard Chartered Arts in the Park is sponsored by Standard Chartered Community Foundation and powered by Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, with the support from the Hong Kong Tourism Board. With a history of more than 20 years, Standard Chartered Arts in the Park 2023 takes inspiration from The Carnival of the Animals by French composer Saint-Saëns, and transforms Victoria Park with fantastical creatures, exciting performances, classic and contemporary music, and creative fun for audiences of all ages.
The two-day free-of-charge carnival also offers an enchanting parade of giant puppets, 18 interactive art stalls, non- stop stage performances by 70 talented youth groups, immersive storytelling, African drum jamming, exhibition of over 6,000 artworks, and meet-and-greet sessions with the giant puppets.
The giant puppet parade returns to Causeway Bay
The highlight of the carnival is the spectacular Grand Finale Parade on Sunday, 3 December at 2:30pm. Setting off from Victoria Park, the parade will traverse George Street and go past SOGO before looping back to East Point Road. It features 10 four-meter-tall puppets and 400 young people, including 400 students from 200 local schools and five groups of professional dancers.
To enable more young people to partake in the event preparation, HKYAF has also conducted artist-in-residence workshops at various schools and youth organisations, collaborating with over 5,000 students to create and showcase giant puppets, colourful costumes, and dance performances.
A colourful spectrum of art styles and world cultures
To bring to life the different animals depicted in Saint-Saëns music, this year’s creative work incorporates a colourful spectrum of artistic styles and cultural elements from around the world. One of the 10 captivating giant puppets is a vibrant Pufferfish created by renowned local puppet artist Paul Chan. Blending new technology and AI software, and decorated with bright, handsewn Mexican-inspired patterns, the pufferfish has a concealed mechanism that allows the fish to puff up and mimic its real-life defence mechanism. Another carnival highlight is the immersive storytelling programme, which features six sets of captivating African-style costumes, specially designed by acclaimed French stage costume designer Lola Clavel to bring the stories alive.
Nurturing a new generation of artists
Over the years, Standard Chartered Arts in the Park has featured the work of professional puppet makers from the UK, who had joined to share their expertise and world-class skills with local artists and audiences. Since 2019, the giant puppets have all been created by local Hong Kong artists who, in turn, pass on their skills to emerging artists and young enthusiasts, helping ensure that the art of puppet-making will thrive in Hong Kong for generations to come.
Standard Chartered Arts in the Park is the only youth arts programme offering Hong Kong students the chance to create giant puppets and engage in large-scale art creations. This unique opportunity allows students to delve into artistic experiences that extend beyond the classroom and regular curriculum-based arts activities. It also helps develop crucial skills like creativity, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership. The carnival provides a platform for young individuals to showcase their creativity and hard work, and offers the public a chance to be a part of an amazing annual artistic event. At the same time, it supports and nurtures the development of Hong Kong’s young artists and brings long-term benefits to the entire community.