Locals and visitors will be spotting colourful and charismatic characters hopping on and off Hong Kong’s trams and Star Ferry over the next several weeks. These eye-popping artistic creations from international pop art duo FriendsWithYou by US-based Samuel Borkson & Arturo Sandoval III, are an imaginative partnership with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) to promote the “Hong Kong Neighborhoods – West Kowloon” programme.
HKTB has also been recording the adventures in a collection of action-packed videos giving those unable to currently visit Hong Kong the chance to check out attractions.
Through this series of online flash mob videos, AR interactive experiences, and gigantic art installations, the happy characters are taking international audiences on a virtual journey across Hong Kong. The videos bring to life the world-beating attractions, highlighting the incredible diversity of artistic elements in West Kowloon and encouraging people, both near and far, to explore Hong Kong from an artistic and cultural perspective.
Borkson and Sandoval III shared, “We are thrilled to put our latest art collection, Happy World, on show in Hong Kong, which is the first event of such a remarkable scale for our works in Asia. We hope our collection can spread a message of harmony and joy – the ingredients of life needed in every corner of the world right now.”
“This collection features a family of brightly-colored characters, including the lead character Little Cloud who will be transformed into a huge inflatable sculpture and greet the public in Art Park in the West Kowloon Cultural District; and other characters including Rainbow Worm, Jelly, Hug Bug, and Peanut Butter. The group will hop around Hong Kong while sharing their friendship and love and connecting with people from every walk of life,” they added.
The characters by FriendsWithYou have already made their mark in a host of Hong Kong’s best-known landmarks and attractions. They have:
-Visited West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), one of the world’s largest and most ambitious cultural projects
-Admired one of the world’s most spectacular skylines at the Sky Corridor of the High Speed Rail Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, and called in on the Avenue of Stars
-Rode Hong Kong’s trams, which have a place in the Guinness World Records as the largest double-decker tram fleet in service (Hong Kong, 2021)
-Shopped for seasonal fruit in the Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market, one of Hong Kong’s biggest markets of its kind
-Sailed on the Star Ferry – named as one of the world’s “50 Places of a Lifetime” – for sensational views across Victoria Harbour
After their tour of Hong Kong, 12 giant inflatable installations of the characters will take up temporary residence from September 23 - October 14 in the Art Park of the WKCD. The most eye-catching of the characters, Little Cloud, will be more than three stories high and longer than a bus, while Rainbow will be larger than a minibus. At the same time, the Hong Kong Space Museum will display the iconic smiley face of the FriendsWithYou characters on its exterior wall.
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