Published: 12/1/2024

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 has now moved to Hong Kong this year, the three curators, Dr Tammy Wong Hulbert, Rachel Cheung, and Shirky Chan, have gained a deeper understanding of the exhibition’s theme, “Closer Together”.

During the curation process, Tammy gained a deeper understanding of the unique personalities of the participating artists and learned about their perspectives on life in Hong Kong. “It was an interesting process. Many artists are global citizens who have shown us different ways of living and thinking about the world.” Working collaboratively as a team, Tammy pointed out that Hong Kong curators are more familiar with the local community, and they can identify Hong Kong-based alumni-artists who match the exhibition’s theme. Together with the Australian artists they selected from the teaching staff, the exhibition showcases the artistic cultures of both regions.

Rachel is delighted and excited about this cross-regional collaboration. Even though she and the other two curators mainly communicated through online meetings and encountered time constraints, they could understand each other’s perspectives throughout the challenging process. Also, Rachel mentioned the longstanding collaboration between RMIT and the Hong Kong Art School, where the rapport developed between the institutions has extended to the faculty. The close collaboration between both institutions has played a crucial role in the significant success of this exhibition. Long-term relationships between institutions made this exhibition more unique and valuable.

Shirky personally visited Australia last year for the inaugural exhibition. At that time, she was very concerned about the safety of the artworks, especially while transporting them from Hong Kong to overseas and back to Hong Kong. “I was constantly worried about whether the artworks would remain intact when the boxes were opened. I wanted to ensure the preservation of the artists’ works.” After the exhibition in Hong Kong concludes, the artworks from Australia will also be carefully transported back to their local destination. In addition, Shirky described that the communication process during the curation was very efficient. Everyone quickly agreed on the exhibition’s theme: “Closer Together.” She believes that this exhibition not only showcases the close collaboration between the two institutions over the years but also explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on interpersonal relationships in recent years. “It is an important theme that prompts people to rethink and reinterpret the meaning of human connections.”

“Closer Together”
Exhibition Period: 2 Jan – 28 Jan 2024
Opening Hours: 10 am – 8 pm
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)
Participating Artists: Kay Mei Ling Beadman | Movana Chen | Ryan Christopher Cheng | Kris Coad | Carolyn Eskdale | Daphne Alexis Ho | Jaffa Lam | Ivy Ma King Chu | Sally Mannall | Drew Pettifer | Kate Siu Man Kit | Scotty So | Kwong San Tang | Fiona Wong Lai Ching | June Wong Siu Ling
Curators: Shirky Chan | Rachel Cheung | Tammy Wong Hulbert