The Silk Road has been a major hub for East-West cultural exchange as well as trade since ancient times. Spanning Asia and Europe, it has given birth to numerous artistic traditions by fostering communication between different groups of people. In choosing the Silk Road as the third theme in our World Cultures series, the Festivals Office aims not only to provide a showcase of amazing gems from the past but also a platform for contemporary creative exchange among artists from various parts of the world.
The Silk Road Arts Festival opens with Splendours of the Tang Dynasty, an extravaganza of songs and dance by the Shaanxi Provincial Song and Dance Theatre. This is followed by a series of exotic concerts from Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. Renowned musicians from Iran, India, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tuva roll out a rich tapestry of sounds that weave together the traditional and the new. In a commission for this festival, En Chordais Ensemble from Greece creates a new soundscape, with guest artists from Tajikistan, Turkey, Israel, Iran and Italy. The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra presents a programme centred on a "Silk Road journey". The energy-charged dance performance by Georgian National Dance Company Sukhishvili promises to be a colourful feast for the eye.
While traditions provide the basis for the Silk Road's cultural legacy, they have also inspired modern artists, such as Japanese New Age musician Kitaro and US-based Chinese choreographer Shen Wei, to fresh creative heights. Local companies Theatre Fanatico, Unlock Dancing Plaza, Ming Ri Institute for Arts Education and the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre also perform new works in their respective genres ¡V multimedia theatre, dance, and drama ¡V all revolving round the Silk Road theme. Closing the festival is a programme by three famous Buddhist ensembles from Mainland China offering aural enlightenment.
On the visual arts front, the Peace and Harmony ¡V The Divine Spectra of Manjusri Exhibition brings together more than 100 Manjusri and Buddhist artefacts in a major display. In addition, a group of artists from Hong Kong and Macao has been asked to create Silk Road-themed installations throughout Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories.
Outreach programmes, including workshops, master class, film shows, talks, school tours, foyer and outdoor performances, are also available in many locations, covering LCSD and university venues, shopping malls, coffee shops and libraries. These events seek to make the Silk Road a part of the fabric of everyday life during the festival period.
A compelling journey awaits. We look forward to sharing these wonderful sights and sounds with you.
Senior Manager, Festivals Office
Leisure and Cultural Services Department