With last year's fair canceled due to the pandemic, and 2019's event held amid Hong Kong's uproarious pro-democracy protests, the buzz signaled something of a return to business as usual for the international art world. While the exhibitor list was less than half its usual size, many of the 104 participating galleries reported strong sales across the five-day event. But for Hong Kong's local artists, few of whom get the chance to exhibit at international fairs, the picture is not quite as promising.
Almost a year after Beijing imposed a controversial national security law on the territory, the creative community has been left unsure about what is, or is not, legally permissible. And although the legislation, which outlaws sedition, secession and subversion, has largely been used against opposition activists, it has also cast a shadow of uncertainty over local artists, curators and gallery owners.