Hong Kong Art School / RMIT University – Closer Together

Exhibition Statement

Closer Together reflects on the 25-year cross-cultural relationship between the Hong Kong Art School and RMIT’s School of Art. This is proudly one of their longest running transnational educational partnerships, an on-going relationship that has grown a community through the exchange of artistic, creative and material knowledge.

The Chinese classic text the Tao Te Ching suggests that the world is made up of what we know and what we do not know, which are ultimately the same. Closer Together proposes that togetherness, creative dialogue and art-making can help us understand this — that through these processes we can come to better know the mysteries of the unknown.

The experience of gaining knowledge that was originally hidden is enlightening, and it alters the way we perceive the world. This exhibition shines a light on 15 artists from the Hong Kong Art School and RMIT community whose works celebrate connectivity and kinship and uncover new knowledge through exchange.

Hong Kong Art School / RMIT University – Closer Together
Exhibition Period: 2 Jan – 28 Jan 2024
Time: 10am – 8pm
Venue: Pao Galleries, Hong Kong Arts Centre (4-5/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai) (Please enter via 5/F using the lifts)
Artists: Kay Mei Ling Beadman | Movana Chen | Ryan Christopher Cheng | Kris Coad | Carolyn Eskdale | Daphne Alexis Ho | Jaffa Lam Laam | Ivy Ma King Chu | Sally Mannall | Drew Pettifer | Kate Siu Man Kit | Scotty So | Tang Kwong San  | Fiona Wong Lai Ching | June Wong Siu Ling
Curators: Shirky Chan | Rachel Cheung | Tammy Wong Hulbert

5 Jan 2024 (FRI) 6:30pm

Talk – Exposing Masculinity: Performing Gender and Sexuality in East Asia
13 Jan 2024 (SAT) 11:30am – 1pm
Speakers: Assoc. Prof. Drew Pettifer (Program Lead, BAFA, RMIT University School of Art) & Mr. Joseph Chen (Director of Culture, Eaton HK)
Language: English

Curatorial Walk-Through
13 Jan 2024 (SAT) 7pm – 8pm
Speaker: Dr. Tammy Wong Hulbert (Senior Lecturer & International Co-ordinator, RMIT University School of Art)
Language: English

Curatorial Walk-Through
20 Jan 2024 (SAT) 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Speaker: Ms. Rachel Cheung (Lecturer & Programme Coordinator, Hong Kong Art School)
Language: Cantonese

On-site (Invisibility Cloak) Making
20 Jan 2024 (SAT) 11am – 7pm
Speaker: Kay Mei Ling Beadman
Language: English

Artist Dialogues
27 Jan (SAT) 3pm – 6pm (45mins per pair, break inclusive)
Speakers: Fiona Wong Lai Ching & Ryan Christopher Cheng (Conduct in English)
June Wong Siu Ling & Tang Kwong San (Conduct in Cantonese)
Daphne Alexis Ho & Kate Siu Man Kit (Conduct in Cantonese)
Jaffa Lam & Kay Mei Ling Beadman (Conduct in English)

Invisibility Cloaks, 2021

Kay Mei Ling Beadman

Kay Mei Ling Beadman was born in England, zigzagged between Hong Kong and the UK growing up, but has lived and worked permanently in Hong Kong since 1999. She uses her Chinese and English mixed race as an autoethnographic springboard to explore aspects of complex dual identity formation, drawing on embodied aspects of lived experience amid socio-politically and culturally constructed assumptions. Her multidisciplinary practice includes video, wearables, painting, text and performance.

Kay received her MFA from RMIT University and Hong Kong Art School in 2015 and has been a guest and part-time lecturer for RMIT at HKAS since then. She co-founded Hidden Space, an independent artist-run initiative in Hong Kong, in 2017, and they introduced the annual Hidden Space Award in 2018. This supports graduates from the RMIT and HKAS’s BAFA programme with mentorship, curatorial and installation support to develop a project leading to a solo exhibition.

Dreconstructing, 2004 -2008

Movana Chen

Movana Chen is a Hong Kong-based artist who studied fashion design at the London College of Fashion, UK, and Fine Art at RMIT University, Hong Kong. Since 2004, she has been weaving people’s stories through KNITeratue – a genre that involves deconstructing and reconstructing meanings and content by knitting books.

Movana’s work is a multi-disciplinary fusion of media, performance, installation and sculpture. Her works have been collected by the M+ Museum, Hong Kong, CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile, Hong Kong.), Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Louis Vuitton, Cathay Pacific and private collectors globally. Her work has been presented at different exhibitions and art festivals, from Hong Kong to London, Paris, Venice, Rotterdam, Beijing, Singapore, Seoul, Melbourne, Sydney, Istanbul and Siberia.

Family, 2022

Ryan Christopher Cheng

Ryan Christopher Cheng graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) in Ceramics from RMIT University and the Hong Kong Art School in 2016. His art pieces have been exhibited in galleries in Hong Kong and have been collected by the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and other private collectors.

As a purist who enjoys working in the natural medium of clay, Ryan uses the potter’s wheel to create his sculpture forms. Throwing and turning the clay on the wheel, he tries to capture the essence of the process and the nature of the clay. The process is exciting and spontaneous, and the artist is present and thinking, while the clay and the wheel have their limits.

Shelter…, 2023

Kris Coad

Kris Coad is a ceramic artist dividing her time between her studio and her work as an educator at RMIT University in Melbourne (studio lead Ceramics) and Hong Kong. Kris alternates exhibition work with large and small-scale ceramic commissions, both nationally and internationally. She also produces a translucent porcelain tableware range and custom designs for bespoke restaurants.

Kris’s work has been acquired for public collections, including Icheon World Ceramic Centre Korea, Mino Ceramic Museum Japan, Parliament House Canberra, Shepparton Art Gallery, Manly Museum & Art Gallery, and private collections within Australia and overseas. Kris’s work has been featured in many magazines, journals and custom books, including World Sculpture News, Ceramics Art and Perception International, and The Journal of Australian Ceramics.

dialogue room pressing, 2023

Carolyn Eskdale

Carolyn Eskdale’s practice encompasses drawing, photography, sculpture, and intervention, working in tension with the site as a context and reference. She seeks to place the viewer within an embodied experience of the work, in continual dialogue with past, present and future experiences. She engages in processes of transformation and reconstruction of actual, remembered and imagined actions, objects, and architectures. Since 1995, Carolyn has worked on an ongoing series of installations and residencies regarding the domestic interior. Her works feature a systematic use of transference of surface and relations of space and form through the trace of hand from one surface to another. This represents a formal mechanism or language that reconstructs material memory.

Carolyn exhibits nationally and internationally. Her room works have been commissioned for major exhibitions including Claustrophobia IKON Gallery, Birmingham UK (1998); All This and Heaven Too Adelaide, the Biennale of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia (1998); On Reason and Emotion, the Biennale of Sydney, Art Gallery of NSW (2004); ‘memory horizon’, Heide Modern, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2020-21); Siteworks 2022 – inside underground, Bundanon Art Museum, Illaroo, NSW (2022).

Absence Permeates Presence series, 2022

Daphne Alexis Ho

Daphne Alexis Ho is a practising photographic artist based in Hong Kong, and her works have been exhibited in Melbourne, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Sanya and Hong Kong. She is a graduate of the Bachelor of Fine Art (2011), Master of Fine Art (2014) and Doctor of Philosophy at RMIT University, Australia (2018).

Daphne captures the transcendental phenomenon of nature through an ethereal portrayal of landscape. Her interpretation of landscape is monochromatic and non-representational. In her photographs, Daphne focuses on the energy of nature, such as balance, contrast and juxtaposition, fusing pictorial tension with aesthetic sensibility. Emotional aspects such as interaction, the idea of co-existence and infinite exchanges among different elements of nature are prevalent, allowing viewers to experience intensity and tranquillity at the same time.

Hybrid Peace_HK Orchid Tree in Blue, 2023

Jaffa Lam Laam

Jaffa Lam Laam is a Chinese visual artist. She is known for her mixed-media sculptures and site-specific works delving into Hong Kong culture and history. Jaffa’s practice often involves community engagement and socially responsible art and makes use of recycled materials, such as found fabric or wood. In 2006, she received the Asian Cultural Council’s Desiree and Hans Michael Jebsen Fellowship. Her works have been acquired by public institutions, including the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Jaffa is also known as an educator. She is currently the Academic Head at the Hong Kong Art School.

Bird of Shape: Warsaw, 2021-2023

Ivy Ma King Chu

Ivy Ma King Chu is a Hong Kong artist who works on drawings, paintings, photography, and mixed-media installations. She received an M.A. in Feminist Theory and Practice in Visual Art from the University of Leeds in the UK in 2002 and a B.A. in Fine Arts (Painting) from RMIT University and the Hong Kong Art School in 2001. She has held several solo exhibitions in Hong Kong. She was an Asian Cultural Council grantee in 2007 and received Hong Kong Contemporary Art Awards, Young Artist Award in 2012. Her series of works ‘Numbers Standing Still’ (2012) was collected by the Hong Kong Museum of Art in 2013. Another series of works, ‘Last Year’ (2015), was collected by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in 2020.

Since July 2021, Ivy has lived in many cities in different countries. Almost every day, she learns with her daughter. They take photos, make crafts, draw and paint, read and write.

A Garden of Stories, 2023

Sally Mannall

Sally Mannall is a Senior lecturer at RMIT University. She has over 30 years of professional art practice exhibiting nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions in New Zealand and Austria and has undertaken residencies in England and Austria. Sally lives, works, and gardens in Naarm and Ballarat. She pays her respects to Woi Wurrung, Boon Wurrung, Wadawurrung and the Dja Dja Wurrung Peoples as the Traditional Custodians of these unceded lands and also their ancestors and elders, past, present, and emerging.

Sally’s creative practice focuses on human’s relationship to nature via gardens. She uses post-studio strategies of working directly on-site and often with materials at hand. Her poignant and humorous artistic gestures in select gardens and with garden produce respond to the sites, their personal and social histories, and their current uses.

Some Want Quietly series, 2014

Drew Pettifer

Drew Pettifer is an artist, (non-practising) lawyer and an associate professor in the School of Art at RMIT University. His art practice works across photography, video, print, sculpture, installation and performance and engages with histories of queerness, photographic theory, archival art practices, intimacy, and social politics.

Sky . Land . People, 2022-2023

Kate Siu Man Kit

Kate Siu Man Kit received her Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art), majoring in ceramics, from RMIT University and the Hong Kong Art School in 2019. She received the RMIT University Vice Chancellor’s List for Academic Excellence Award, the Taiwan FRANZ Rising Star Scholarship in 2019, the HKSAR Education Bureau Self-financing Post-secondary Education Fund’s Outstanding Performance Scholarship, and The Pottery Workshop Limited Award in 2020.

Kate is a Hongkonger who loves the city and enjoys life. She likes to explore the lifeline between her and Hong Kong through art practice, believing they are in the same vein. Her works are highly linked with daily life, humanity and the local community.

The Dance of the Seven Scarlett Veils, 2023

Scotty So

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Scotty So graduated with BFA Honours at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia, in 2019. His work has been shown in Hong Kong, China, and Australia. He is represented by MARS Gallery in Australia.

Scotty is now a Melbourne-based artist who works across media, using painting, photography, sculptures, site-responsive installation, videos, and drag performance. Driven by the thrill of camp, he explores the often-contradictory relationship between humour and sincerity within lived experience.

Dia I, 2021
Dia III, 2021

Tang Kwong San

Tang Kwong San (b.1992) was born in China and now lives in Hong Kong. He received his BA in Fine Arts from RMIT University, Australia, in 2019. His practice combines photographs, drawings, objects and videos that trace intergenerational family memories and social history. Through reorganising and reinterpreting old belongings, family photo albums and documents in various media, Tang explores the subtle, intricate and complex connections between longing, loss and belonging.

This Sky, 2018

Fiona Wong Lai Ching

Born in 1964 and living in Hong Kong, Fiona Wong Lai Ching graduated from the University of East Anglia in 1991 and obtained her MFA degree at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1997. She received a Starr Foundation award from the Asian Cultural Council in 2000 and was elected member of the International Academy of Ceramics in Geneva in 2007. She was named Hong Kong Arts Development Award Artist of the Year 2017. In 2018, her ceramic work “Blue Wings” was collected by the British Museum. She is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Hong Kong Art School.

Since 2004, Fiona curated various research projects on ceramics, history and the community, including “My Soil My Land (2006)”, “Gogasha” 6th Echigo Tsumari Triennale (2015), “Hi Houses – A Chronical of Law Uk Retold by Art” (2017), “Hong Kong Colours” (2021). Her consistent interest in the medium of ceramics as a way to explore the world has been the core of her art practice and her teaching.

I Got You a Speck of Dust, 2023

June Wong Siu Ling

June Wong Siu Ling is a Hong Kong visual artist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) from the Hong Kong Art School and RMIT University in 2018 and received a Higher Diploma in Fine Art in 2014. She also obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in nursing in 2010.

She explores city life and daily living through moving images and drawings. She collects elements from everyday life for her works. The image from the news, chats from neighbours, or audio from the radio can be transformed into her creations.