Hand-painted pianos strike the right note with mall visitors

Li Qian
Fifteen hand-painted pianos, available for anyone to play, have been placed in the HKRI Taikoo Hui mall.
Li Qian
Hand-painted pianos strike the right note with mall visitors
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Renowned pianist Kong Xiangdong performs at the opening ceremony.

Fifteen hand-painted pianos, available for anyone to play, have been placed in the HKRI Taikoo Hui mall.

The initiative is part of the worldwide campaign, “Play Me, I’m Yours,” launched by British artist Luke Jerram to connect people through music. So far, more than 2,000 pianos have been placed in open spaces in more than 65 cities across the world.

The mall on Nanjing Road W. introduced the project to Shanghai in 2018, and since then it has become an annual event. Last year, the mall donated 17 hand-painted pianos to social organizations. This gave new meaning to the project and caused a sensation in the city. 

This year, the mall joined with the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and World of Art Brut Culture to invite artists and students to paint 17 pianos.

Two were sent to the Shanghai Children’s Hospital and Jing’an District Zhabei Central Hospital to pay respects to medical workers during the pandemic. The other pianos were revealed to the public on Friday. They will be in place until June 21. 

More than just pianos, they are 15 pieces of artwork painted with animals and plants, geometric abstractions and colorful shapes in themes of rebirth, the bustling city and environmental protection.

Renowned pianist Kong Xiangdong played Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" and Chinese folk song “Jasmine Flower” at the opening ceremony. He also composed a number of melodies as background music.

From June 1 to 21 the mall will also host an exhibition on the history of pianos.

Hand-painted pianos strike the right note with mall visitors
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A hand-painted piano is ready to be played.

Hand-painted pianos strike the right note with mall visitors
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A boy practices to sheet music.

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