There’s no question that Hong Kong is the centre of the Asian art market, so it’s only fitting this years Art Basel Hong Kong is the biggest yet. In their fifth year, the festival hosts over 242 galleries from 34 countries across the world at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on Victoria Harbor.

This year they have not only expanded their programming and participating galleries, of which more than half are from Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, but continue to diversify their offerings to further solidify China as the worlds strongest art marketplace.

We had the chance to attend their media preview days a couple days prior to the public viewing days from March 23rd to 25th, so if you’re planning to attend, we’ve got the scoop on what not to miss over the next three days from replicated dead dictators, Aspery handbags on mass, to brand new work from Japan’s much beloved Takashi Murakami, Brazil’s OSGEMEOS, and NYC’s KAWS.

The always exciting Discoveries and Excounters sectors divide the exhibitions ever sprawling floor showcasing work from emerging artists and up-and-coming galleries, twelve of which are new to Hong Kong this year.

One of this years more controversial pieces entitled ‘Summit’ within Encounters from Shen Shaomin showcases extremely realistic models of five dead Communist leaders (read: dictators), including Fidel Castro, Lenin, and Mao. Beside Shaomin’s piece is Filipino-British artist Pio Abad’s ‘Not a Shield, but a Weapon,’ which features 180 black Asprey handbag replicas which Margaret Thatcher infamously carried.

Another Encounter not to miss this year is from Taiwanese artist Joyce Ho entitled ‘On the second day, Saturday, your three minutes.’ Hidden from the show floor the large installation and performance space is based around our perceptions of everyday situations and life experiences in hopes of magnifying the small often neglected rituals of life and thus reflect. Expect to queue for this as most of the installations and performances are individual and run for three minutes.

You’ll of course also find an overwhelming amount of commercially viable pieces from established galleries like Lehmann Maupin, the Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, Lisson Gallery, Almine Rech Gallery, ShanghART Gallery, and many more.

Check out our photo round up from Art Basel Hong Kong below now.

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