Published: 18/1/2024

Closer Together reflects upon the intimate cross-cultural relationships between the Hong Kong Art School and RMIT’s School of Art. As a partnership of over 25 years, it is proudly one of the two art institutions’ longest-running transnational educational alliances. This ongoing relationship has enabled everyone involved – staff and students alike – to participate in exchanging knowledge, learning from each other, and growing and evolving through an artistic and creative lens.

From planning to execution, the preparation process for the exhibition “Closer Together” spanned over a year. As the exhibition debuted in Australia last year and moved to Hong Kong this year, three of the artists, Assoc. Prof. Drew Pettifer, Kate Siu Man Kit and Dr. Daphne Alexis Ho, interpret the exhibition theme “Closer Together” through their artworks.

“Some Want Quietly”, the artwork of the Assoc. Prof. Drew Pettifer, Program Lead, BAFA, RMIT University School of Art, captures closeness through the intimate portraits of his male subjects. The series “Some Want Quietly” was produced during his residency in Japan. It reflects on Pettifer’s position as a queer Australian man by examining different societal and cultural codes of masculinity and gender.

Drew is thrilled to be able to share his work with the Hong Kong community. “It is wonderful to engage with our community here through exhibition.” He further mentioned that Closer Together is about closeness, exchange, and sharing, reflecting the relationship between the two institutions. He added that their core is art and creative practice, and the opportunity for cultural exchange excites him greatly.

Kate Siu Man Kit learns from the practices of ancient potters; her work “Sky . Land . People” considers how local materials they collected from their daily lives can be creatively used for her work. By using these materials in her ceramic vessels, she breathes new meaning, context and value into them, imbuing the overlooked with a new significance, “I hope to invite the audience to pay attention to the often-overlooked details of daily life and to raise their awareness of the everyday aspects of the city, including people, events, and objects. It will bring them a different perspective and a deeper appreciation for these aspects of urban life.”

Dr. Daphne Alexis Ho’s work “Absence Permeates Presence” considers the landscape of Hong Kong Island in a time of anxiety prompted by the global pandemic. Using the lens of Zen aesthetics, Ho finds beauty at a distance. The artist also noted that the quiet and contemplative process of photography during this period of disruption was therapeutic, having a stabilising effect. “We may feel lonely when we are overcoming challenges or in solitude. However, if we look up at the sky, we will realise that we are sharing the same space, working together and facing the same circumstances. There is always hope for the future.”