Chief Secretary Carrie Lam
This exhibition marks another significant milestone in the development of the West Kowloon Cultural District and in particular M+. I am pleased to say that the 60,000 square-metre M+ building designed by the renowned Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron is progressing smoothly and on schedule.
The extraordinary M+ building will become an iconic landmark along the waterfront of Victoria Harbour. It will house a full range of first-rate museum facilities such as galleries, studios, learning and research areas, museum shops and cafes, as well as plenty of public open spaces and greenery for arts lovers and the general public to enjoy.
Equally encouraging is the notable progress made in the institutional and software development of the museum - thanks to the hard work of Lars (External Advisor of M+, Dr Lars Nittve) in the past five years. M+ has built a strong curatorial team and embarked on a wide range of audience and capacity building programmes. I am also glad that M+ is building up its reputation and status in the international art scene.
In May last year, I officiated at the opening of the Hong Kong Exhibition at the Venice Biennale which was jointly presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and M+. I met with a lot of people in the arts circle during the trip, and from our conversations, I had a strong impression that M+ is already a brand that is well-recognised in the international arts arena. The opening of M+ in 2019 will be something eagerly anticipated by art lovers around the world.
M+ is also part of the wider West Kowloon Cultural District, which is a long-term strategic investment of the HKSAR Government to transform a 40-hectare prime site on the waterfront into an integrated arts and cultural district with world-class arts and cultural facilities as well as quality open spaces that will make Hong Kong people proud.
The facilities are now taking shape and will be commissioned in stages. Since the opening of the Nursery Park last July, the Authority has been organising series of popular cultural events at the Park including Freespace Happening that are being held on alternate Sundays under the territory-wide "Appreciate Hong Kong" Campaign. The M+ Pavilion, the first building to be completed on the West Kowloon Cultural District, will open later this year.
The Xiqu Centre, a world-class facility dedicated to Chinese opera, is scheduled to open in 2018 along with parts of the Park. Another venue, the Freespace, will open in 2019.
The West Kowloon Cultural District is a leading example of the HKSAR Government's commitment to promoting arts and culture in Hong Kong. We endeavour to create an environment which is conducive to freedom of artistic expression and creation, and wider participation in cultural activities.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam made these remarks at the opening reception of the "M+ Sigg Collection: Four Decades of Chinese Contemporary Art" exhibition on February 22.