Founder, Bamboo Scenes
Originally from the Netherlands, Madelon de Grave has left her footprints around the globe. After backpacking through South America and studying for a master’s degree in Rotterdam and Shanghai, she worked as an inventory planner in the Dutch city of Hilversum.
“Very quickly, I realized I was not chasing my passion,” she says.
At 23 years old, she bought a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires. After hearing about a charity in Guatemala that helps children with cleft palates, she decided to move there in 2014.
After a year in Guatemala and a short spell back in her home country — this time in Amsterdam — she decided to move to Hong Kong in 2015.
She started working with co-working space The Hive, setting up a space that also encompassed a photography studio. “This opened up a broad network within the art scene of Hong Kong, where I got to meet a lot of talented artists,” she says.
She found that the Hong Kong artists were creating “amazing and strong work” — and at the same time, de Grave struggled to find beautiful, affordable art pieces for her new apartment.
Because de Grave always wanted to run her own business, she decided to open Bamboo Scenes, a photography gallery spotlighting Hong Kong art, in 2017.
“I select Hong Kong-based photographers who have strong, unique work and make their work accessible for a broader audience,” she explains. The gallery space showcases their work, creating curated collections together with them in which they show their Hong Kong in spectacular ways. At our gallery as well as online, people can discover the collections and find that perfect photography artwork for their home or their businesses.
De Grave says it has been an exciting challenge. “The art business in Hong Kong is fairly traditional, and to break through that is not that easy.” However, the gallery has been well-received by Hongkongers as well as travellers to the city.
Meanwhile, she is committed to helping the community. For every piece sold at Bamboo Scenes, 10% of the profits are donated to local NGO ImpactHK.
Her goal? “To open up Hong Kong’s local street photography scene, and make their work accessible to a broader audience — offering an affordable yet memorable art piece to anyone looking for art.”
Her first job? Working in a cafe making coffees and sandwiches at 16 years old.
What inspires her? “A positive mindset.”
See the full list of The Loop HK’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2019.