Published: 25/6/2024

A teacher, father and practising artist, Joseph Greyling from South Africa recently graduated from Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) co-presented by the Hong Kong Art School and RMIT University in Australia. Joseph had wanted to pursue art academically since high school but was not immediately presented with the opportunity. After working several unfulfilling jobs, he eventually resolved to completing an art and design certificate, followed by a diploma in fine arts, and then a post-graduate certificate in art education.

When he moved from South Africa to Hong Kong during the pandemic, he pursued another degree at HKAS and hoped to complete a master’s degree to advance his art education and challenge his practice even further.

Joseph still teaches art at an international school in Hong Kong, and his artwork has been showcased in exhibitions across the city. As an art teacher and practising artist in a new country, Joseph wished to progress his studies at a top institution and was able to realise this when he enrolled in the Bachelor’s degree programme co-presented by HKAS and RMIT University.

“Pursuing further education at HKAS deepened my expertise and credentials in the art world and had been a tremendously rewarding experience that elevated both my teaching and art practice.”

As a young artist in the early 2000s, Joseph believed that artists had to develop a distinctive style and confine themselves within those limits in order to gain recognition. At HKAS, he learned that it was not necessary to make the same formulaic art in order to be more marketable. Instead, he was encouraged to experiment, push boundaries, and be vulnerable within his practice, learning to trust the process and to think within the medium as he pursues and develops his practice. This mindset has been key to the ongoing change and challenge within his work.

Joseph continues to immerse himself in Hong Kong’s vibrant art scene as it inspires him to venture beyond the expectations of his creations. Having experienced both cultures in South Africa and Hong Kong, he noticed many similarities between the two, including colonial history, western influences, diverse cultures and serving as an economic hub. These factors in tandem with his culture and background have undoubtedly influenced his artmaking.

Joseph’s artwork is largely inspired by his surroundings, the past, and people he interacts with as these are a big part of his identity and heritage. Portraiture has been a recurring subject matter, and he has always tried to remain fluid in what a portrait is or how it can be presented. He recently transitioned from figurative to abstract art through deconstructing older works, exploring his cultural identity and pondering how globalism influenced him. This was done by tearing, sorting and reassembling his paintings to create a visual experience that blurs the line between past and present, abstraction and figuration, and the known and unknown.

Joseph’s portraiture and self-portraiture work has been his response to the political and changing environment in South Africa. Moving to Hong Kong has rejuvenated his art practice, giving him fresh inspiration and perspective that led to the culmination of his past two decades’ work – though he states that there is still so much to explore on this lifelong journey as an artist.

Hong Kong Art School / RMIT University Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Graduate Exhibition 2024 — Ephemeral
Exhibition Period : 6 – 22 July 2024
Time : 10am – 8pm
Venue : 4/F – 5/F Pao Galleries, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
(Please enter via 5/F using the lifts)
Opening Reception : 5 July 2024 (Fri) | 6:00pm