Central Market’s new vibrancy previewed as Chinachem Group launches first-ever collaboration with French May
Passers-by received a first glimpse of Central Market’s soon-to-be-completed rebirth as a vibrant arts and cultural venue when a ceremony was held there today (2 May) to mark the first-ever collaboration between Chinachem Group and the annual French May Arts Festival. Chinachem Group (the Group) recently won the contract to manage and operate the restored Central Market building on behalf of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), while the ever-popular French May Arts Festival is about to commence its 29th year.
Guests at today’s French May X Chinachem Group launch ceremony included Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau Mr Alexandre Giorgini, Chairman of the Board of French May Dr Andrew Yuen, URA Managing Director Ir Wai Chi-sing, the Group’s Executive Director and CEO Donald Choi and French mural painter Elsa Jean de Dieu, who will be one of the featured artists at the festival. Also there to demonstrate their talents were the jmJazz a cappella group, who will be performing during the Festival.
A Cappella group - jmJazz performs A Cappella in French with Beatbox in Central Market.
Although the revitalised Central Market building will be not be fully reopened to the public until later this year, the Group is making some areas both indoors and outdoors available from today until 30 May to stage a series of free public music, dance and art performances. The performances will then relocate to the Group’s NINA MALL in Tsuen Wan, where the French Traditional Gourmet Market will also be hosted from 28-30 May as part of the festival’s French GourMay programme.
Mr Choi told the guests that Chinachem Group had long been committed to promoting arts and culture as a means of enhancing and enriching community life. “This very much aligns with the French May festival’s own aims, and we’re delighted to have the opportunity of working together with them for the first time,” he said. “It’s particularly appropriate that we can launch our collaboration here at Central Market, giving the public a preview of what is to follow in the months ahead. It’s our aim to turn Central Market with URA into a ‘Playground for All’ – a place where Hong Kong people can mix, mingle and socialise amid a vibrant mix of retail and cultural activities.”
“Cultural heritage is important for the city’s future – both in terms of people’s well-being, and the city’s economic growth by way of attracting tourism and professional talent. When looking to the future, we must always first understand where we came from”, said Mr Giorgini. “Passion for the culinary arts lies at the heart of French, Hong Kong, and all Chinese cultures. We are proud to be part of today’s activities, and we look forward to further collaborations in future.”
Dr Yuen added that it had always been the French May’s objective to “touch everything, be everywhere and reach everyone” in creating a diversified programme of arts, entertainment and educational events each year, and bringing them to people in all parts of Hong Kong including the young, elderly and less privileged. “I know Chinachem Group shares this philosophy, and we greatly welcome the opportunity to partner them this year,” he said.
A highlight of the arts performances to be staged at Central Market will be mural painting and visual demonstrations by French street artist Elsa Jean de Dieu. She will paint on-site four large mural themed around “Places with Heart”, “People, Prosperity, Planet”, “Playground for All” and “Approachable, Energetic and Gregarious” respectively. Through these murals the artist demonstrates the French spirit of inclusiveness, which is also a common value treasured by the Group and the Central Market.
The Group has been a keen supporter of both local and international arts-related events, believing the power of arts can help lift the spirits of people and hence create shared value for the community. Among previous arts-related events organised or supported by the Group are the “Wish to be – Renaissance of Used Lights” Upcycled Art Exhibition, the Jockey Club ifva Everywhere Carnival 2020, the Hong Kong Institiute of Architects’ “Island Peninsula” exhibition and the 17th Venice Biennale. The Group is also supporting the Ha Bik Chuen Archive Project (2020-2021) by the Asia Art Archive, which involves digitising the late sculptor and printmaker’s collection to stimulate new artistic ideas and knowledge.
The Group is dedicated to creating shared value with the Hong Kong community through its “Triple Bottom Line” approach to business, which puts equal priority on creating social, economic and environmental benefits for the community – in other words “People, Prosperity and Planet”.