Living the dream takes courage
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Not everyone can turn their interests into a career, not to mention a successful business that wins wide acclaim. But Ms Catherine Kwai Yuk-nin has, as a veteran gallerist in Hong Kong.
Court Member, CityU
Board Member, CityU Foundation
Before starting her art business, Ms Kwai played key management roles in international banks and insurance companies for many years. Her job gave her a chance to visit museums around the world, which reminded her of her childhood interest in painting. “When I was small, I spent hours painting and thought that I would be an artist,” said Ms Kwai.
Her father was particularly influential. “My father noticed that I was clear on what I wanted in life, and reminded me choices would only be available to those who were well prepared. Therefore, I studied accounting and economics at university, and worked very hard in the banking industry after graduation,” said Ms Kwai.
Having the courage to spark new ideas and initiate breakthroughs, Ms Kwai soon scaled the corporate ladder and was tasked to head up the Asia-Pacific region for her company by 1991. But then, she resolutely chose to start off her second career by establishing the Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery.
“Life is about more than just making money. I feel a sense of satisfaction from representing and supporting artists from around the world. I am glad to contribute to society by preserving and promoting the legacy of different artists,” said Ms Kwai.
Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery has earned its reputation in Hong Kong by promoting hundreds of artists from more than 10 countries. The Gallery has organised over 100 exhibitions and published a variety of catalogues and lithographs. Ms Kwai has also expanded her business by opening three more companies with different specialisations in art. Her outstanding contributions in cultural exchanges earned her the Knight of the National Order of Merit from the French Government in 2011.
In addition to devoting herself to the art industry, Ms Kwai actively participates in charity work and public services. A staunch supporter of CityU, she not only provides the University with philanthropic support but also invaluable advice that steers the University development in her various roles with CityU. She is currently a member of the Board of Governors of the CityU Foundation and a CityU Court member.
She is deeply impressed by the University’s commitment to promoting the integration of arts and science. “The Indra and Harry Banga Gallery is unique in combining art and technology in innovative ways, which is excellent for nurturing a greater appreciation of art among students and the public. I hope that I can serve as a bridge connecting CityU with the global art communities and industry leaders, and solicit support for the long-term development of the University, in particular the Gallery,” said Ms Kwai.
With the invaluable advice and support from Ms Kwai, the Gallery is reaching the next level of development and receiving greater recognition. CityU endeavours to foster art–science integration to a wider community, paving the way for more collaborative opportunities.
When talking about her life’s motto, Ms Kwai emphasised that people need not fear failure if they are determined in pursuing their goals.
Ms Catherine Kwai Yuk-nin
• Founder and Managing Director, Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery
• Founder and Managing Director, Kwai Fung Art Consultants
• Founder and Managing Director, Kwai Po Collection
• Founder and Managing Director, Kwai Fung Art Publishing House
• Member, CityU Court
• Member of the Board of Governors and Principal Member, CityU Foundation
• Member, Steering Committee, “United We Soar” Campaign, CityU
• Member, Board of Directors of Le French May
• Member, The Marco Polo Society
• Advisor, Our Hong Kong Foundation
• Knight of the National Order of Merit by the French Government (2011)