Para Site Silver Jubilee Auction


Dear Friends,

2021 has presented continuous challenges as the world navigates a safe path to reopen under the threat of the global health crisis. In this difficult year, we cannot help but be reminded of Para Site’s beginning as a self-organised space for artists in a period of uncertainty 25 years ago as Hong Kong prepared for its handover. It is more pertinent than ever that we see art’s unique power to bring communities together, to foster dialogue, and to imagine a better tomorrow. For this, we are extremely grateful and humbled by the support we have received from artists, galleries, and individuals in Hong Kong and beyond, who all believe passionately in art’s future and in the need for the places that nurture it to continue thriving.

While many activities in the arts remain online and remote, Para Site has strived to bring access to a variety of programmes and support for emerging talents, especially artists who have been left vulnerable by derailed plans. We continued the 2020 initiative PS Paid Studio Visits, which has supported over 60 local artists to date with a studio visit fee and one month of health insurance coverage for every virtual visit conducted with Para Site team members, and the list continues to grow. The NoExit Grant for Unpaid Artistic Labour, generously supported by an anonymous donor, is also in its second year with a special focus on the Philippines, with additional funding coming from three Filipino supporters. Besides providing some substantial subsidy for visual artists, curators, writers, filmmakers, and choreographers to pursue their creative practices at a crucial time when support is wanting overall, it is also a way to show regional solidarity. To nurture artists who are at the beginning of their careers and thinking into the future of Hong Kong’s art scene, for our 25th anniversary year Para Site launched a new initiative entitled 2046 Fermentation + Fellowships, providing both opportunities for collective learning and guidance as well as financial support. We look forward to seeing the participants present their ongoing work and projects in the coming months. 

As with every year, this year’s auction will contribute to a large percentage of our budget in the forthcoming year to ensure the continuation and development of our exhibitions as well as our public and educational programmes. Para Site is proud to have presented the solo exhibitions of Hong Kong artists Luke Ching ‘Glitch in the Matrix’ and Vvzela Kook ‘Confidential Records: Overwrite’. We also presented the ambitious collaboration with Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai ‘Curtain’, which saw the first opening reception gathering after government regulations have loosened, and the Emerging Curators exhibition ‘Liquid Ground’ to wide acclaim and robust public programming. In December, to draw Para Site’s first 25 years to a close as we look ahead to the next, we are delighted to present an exhibition of the 18 artists participating in the inaugural edition of the 2046 Fermentation + Fellowships programme, in a format that revisits Para Site’s founding ethos of deep play and experimentation. None of these could have carried on without the generous donations through the successful 2020 auction and the support of individual donors.

Where the international residency programme has left a void, we have filled it with a Rooftop Studio Residency for local artists. They are invited to look into Para Site Archive, propose projects, and share their findings through social media take-overs and in-person public programmes. To celebrate our 25th anniversary, artists with whom we have collaborated in the last 25 years have shared their artistic journey with both in-person and online audiences in the ongoing 25+25 sessions.

All our programmes have been mediated to a diverse audience through a record number of public events and multilingual tours for students and members of the general public. While in many parts of the world, audience numbers have dwindled as institutions remain closed, at Para Site, our audiences have actually increased, seeing new audiences in Hong Kong crossing our doorstep for the first time, strengthening our connection to the local community. These achievements would not be possible without the tremendous generosity of our patrons and supporters.  

Para Site advocates the fair pay of artists by offering artist fees and health insurance to all its collaborators. As part of an effort to expand social protections for artists, in 2019 we started covering medical insurance costs for all Hong Kong artists working for Para Site projects (including those working on donations for the fundraising auction), covering both the production and exhibition periods. And because we would like you to know exactly the figures behind these plans and how your support translates into our work, we are listing below a few examples of the costs that go into these projects:

HK$ 5,000—artist fee for participating in one of our group exhibitions

HK$ 10,000—artist medical and dental insurance coverage for a year

HK$ 20,000—fellowship for a young artist as part of 2046 Fermentation + Fellowships

HK$ 60,000—production of Para Site’s booth in Art Basel featuring a young artist 

HK$ 80,000—production of a newly commissioned installation work

HK$ 100,000—production costs for annual public programmes and events

HK$ 150,000—printing of a major Para Site publication

HK$ 500,000—production of a regular Para Site exhibition or the entire budget for the NoExit Grant for Unpaid Artistic Labour

We would thus like to thank all of you for supporting us; to all the artists, galleries, and friends who have donated an unprecedented set of works recognising the need for essential support in an unprecedented year, to our expanding family of Global Council Members, Founding Friends, Friends, and Associates, as well as to our Board and Advisors, who have made our past year possible and the future bright. Special gratitude goes to our Auction Venue Partner the St. Regis, Hong Kong; our Auction Preview Venue Partner Soho House Hong Kong and to Akarin Gaw; our Wine Sponsor Gelardini & Romani and Sarah Heller; our auctioneer Jehan Chu; and event designers Paola Sinisterra and Kaman Lam. We are also thankful to the following organisations for their support: Givergy, Brinks Fine Arts Services, Circle Asia, and Tatler. My heartfelt thanks to the Para Site team and interns for another year of hard work. Last, but certainly not least, our heartfelt and special thanks to Shane Akeroyd, Virginia Yee, and an anonymous host for generously hosting the auction gala. 

Cosmin Costinaș
Executive Director and Curator
Para Site