(Press release on 29 Sept 2012 upon the founding of Renaissance Foundation)
Free expression and independent creation are the foundation of cultural prosperity. Arts and cultural creations with independent spirit and free thinking form the basis of a civilized, diverse society and cultural human rights. The establishment of “Renaissance Foundation” aims to unite the power of the people across China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau to support and sponsor independent creation of arts and cultural works, by encouraging and awarding young creative talents, promoting diversity and seeking new waves to enhance the development of creative culture among the Chinese speaking young people of the region.
Anthony Wong, Chairman of “Renaissance Foundation”, believes that “Independence is a kind of spirit. ‘Indie’ is also a genre in markets like North America with its own market value. In the Chinese world, independent music, video and literature should find their unique position. You can find your space for survival even you don’t depend on the mainstream. The Foundation will help those isolated artists and give them a platform for active exchange in order to turn independent arts into a new force or a kind of new wave, in a small scale to start with.”
Renowned lyricist Chow Yiu Fai who is a Council Member of the Foundation says, “We can’t measure prosperity and change of a society by GDP or individual citizen’s income. Instead of leading a finance-oriented and materialistic lifestyle, we can live more spiritually with more arts and cultural activities.” Well-known Taiwanese music critic and veteran media professional Chang Tieh Chih, also a member of the Foundation’s Council, adds that “Cultural works cannot be empty. You won’t get opportunities to produce good music if you simply work alone at home. We also need to reach out and criticize after analyzing the economy and politics.”
Based in Hong Kong which is a window to the world and a bridge with the international market, “Renaissance Foundation” unites the four places in the region into one single platform. Raising funds from various cultural sponsors of different sectors for encouraging, awarding and promoting independent arts and cultural works of high quality, with a hope to unearth exceptional creative talents and revive the independent, innovative spirit of Chinese creative artists.
The decision-making Council of “Renaissance Foundation” is composed of a group of key fund contributors, professionals and celebrities with outstanding achievements across the music, literature and film sectors beyond the local market, including Chairman Anthony Wong Yiu Ming and Council Members: Han Han, Pang Ho Cheung, Jia Zhang Ke, Chow Yiu Fai, Shu Kei, Yao Qian, Wallace Kwok and Zhang Yuan. In addition, the Foundation also has regional and professional conveners responsible for organizing and coordinating regional affairs: Hong Kong – Poon Tat Pui and Tang Siu Wa; China – Zhu Jian, Wang Xiao Shan and Xu Zhi Yuan; Taiwan – Landy Chang, Chang Tieh Chih and Zhang Zhao Wei.
“Renaissance Foundation” has no intention to instill any thinking into the young people’s minds. On the contrary, the Foundation hopes that the younger generation can break through the norms and think out of the box. During the first year, the Foundation will organize a series of regular activities focusing on 4 major directions: Inspiring, Cross-Genres Exchange, Annual Funding Scheme and Awards. The aim is to expand the horizon for arts and cultural creation to promote open and inclusive cultural exchange.
As a launch event, during 2 days from 24th to 25th of November, the Foundation will organize for the first time “Renaissance Festival 2012”, a large scale outdoor arts festival at the West Kowloon Cultural District for arts and culture lovers from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau to enjoy free of charge a variety of stage performances with depth. Apart from being a festival featuring concerts, independent film screenings, literary works recitations and discussion forums, it is also a platform for independent artists to showcase their outstanding independent creative works.
In addition, the Foundation will organize an Annual Funding and Awards Scheme. Each year, a pool of young and independent creative talents from 3 sectors will be selected by a professional panel: 3 to 4 from Music, 10 from Literature and 10 from Video, to receive subsidies for the launch and publication of their works. In collaboration with cultural organizations throughout the region, various seminars and workshops such as “Video Master-Class”, “Creative Music Camp” and “Literature Class” will be organized for sharing outstanding independent arts and cultural works to inspire potential independent artists. The Foundation will also publish a monthly magazine “Renaissance” to promote the works of independent creative artists. Through free activities, the Foundation hopes to lower the threshold to arts and cultural activities, making them widely accessible to more people in the general public for them to share the charm of independent creation and the power of culture.