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Nov 10 2020

Hong Kong’s Para Site launches Grant for unpaid artistic labor

by Ruby Fung

Installation view of Para Site’s current exhibition, “Garden of Six Seasons,” at its space in Hong Kong. Image via Instagram.

Hong Kong’s nonprofit art space Para Site announced on November 9 details of its newly created relief fund, NoExit Grant for Unpaid Artistic Labour, which offers HKD 20,000 (USD 2,600) each to 25 artists unable to sustain a stable income from their practice during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Formed as a response to the hardships artists currently experience in light of the pandemic—such as the suspension of domestic and international events, exhibitions, projects, and related funding—this relief fund differs from others in that it aims to alleviate financial stress in order to facilitate the flourishing of artistic ideas. It is not restricted to a specific project.

Speaking about the grant, curator and Para Site’s executive director Cosmin Costinas further explains: “This award is both an urgent response to the current crisis and a long-term effort towards recognising the precarious nature of artistic labour where, even in non-pandemic times, crucial parts of the artistic production process remain unpaid and unacknowledged.”

Hong Kong artists at all stages of their careers—whether currently based in Hong Kong or born in the city but currently based elsewhere—are eligible to apply by December 7. Out of the 25 awardees, 20 will be selected based on work experience and need, while the remaining five will be chosen by lottery. The selection panel includes Para Site curators Celia Ho and Anqi Li; and three Hong Kong artists: Ocean Leung, Wong Ka Ying, and Samson Young.

Since its inception in 1996, Para Site has supported artists through different initiatives, such as its temporarily suspended two-month International Art Residency Programme and its annual international conference. This year, it also launched the ongoing PS Paid Studio Visits program, providing online studio visiting fees to local artists alongside a one-month of health insurance coverage, and the Hong Kong Collective Independent Art Spaces Fundraiser, which supports independent art spaces in the city.

Ruby Fung is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific.

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