For a city trying hard to position itself as an important player in the international world of art, there has been welcome news in Hong Kong this week as the city's largest art fair has announced a record number of exhibitors for its 2012 edition.
Art HK 12 -- which will fill the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from May 17-20 -- will feature works representing 264 galleries during its fifth edition as it works to keep pace with Asia's other top arts fairs.
The Hong Kong event welcomed a record 63,511 visitors last year -- up 38 percent from 2010 -- and is hoping again that with a selection of work drawn from 37 countries and territories it can tap into unprecedented interested in Asia's art market.
In recent years Hong Kong has established itself as the world's third largest art auction market after London and New York and has become an important link between the art worlds of the East and West.
"Art HK will further its role as a platform for cross-cultural exchange by introducing a new initiative, offering to pair up interested galleries from the East and West, to share practical knowledge on conducting business as a gallery in their respective territories," organizers said in a statement announcing the event.
The event will see the return of the Asia One section introduced in 2011. It will showcase work from 49 of Asia's leading galleries, while again promoting "cross-cultural exchange."
"This section will showcase the exciting developments currently taking place in Asian art, alongside the most prestigious galleries from Asia and around the world. We hope to encourage as much collaboration and cross-cultural exchange as possible, making Art HK 12 a platform for developing the audience and market for contemporary art in Asia and providing a global audience an opportunity to discover and learn about contemporary art from the region," said Magnus Renfrew, fair director, ART HK.
Art HK is one of a number of major art fairs to respond to the growing market in the region and positions itself alongside the likes of Singapore's Art Stage Singapore in January and the SH Contemporary event in Shanghai each September.
The Hong Kong event offers daily webcasts on its official website so those unable to make the trip to town can keep up with developments.