An ‘assembly’ can be a temporary collective with a shared sense of purpose, or a creative, resilient (and sometimes precarious) construction. Assembly brings together eight Hong Kong-born artists from different generations of the diaspora. Amid the current wave of migration, this exhibition explores the act of ‘making sense’ of layers and fragments, of memories and stories, told or untold. Assembly embraces the resonance and dissonance between the diverse creative practices of these artists, questioning readymade notions of diasporic identity.

Artists

Chun Yin Rainbow Chan 陳雋然 (b.1990, Hong Kong) is an award-winning vocalist, producer and multi-disciplinary artist who moved to Australia in 1996 with her family. Her paintings, installations and performances have explored counterfeit culture,  Recognised in 2022 as "40 Under 40: Most Influential Asian Australians Award" for her contribution to arts and culture, in 2023 she premiered "The Bridal Lament", a one-woman music and performance work that explores the songs of an obsolete wedding ritual from Hong Kong’s Waitau 圍頭 (‘walled village’) people, part of her matrilineal heritage.

Nikki Lam (b.1988, Hong Kong) is a visual artist and curator based who moved to Australia in 2005 to study. Working primarily with moving images, her work explores memory, belonging and the complexity of diasporic expression. Lam is co-director of Hyphenated Projects and curator at The Substation, Melbourne. Her work was exhibited in the 2023 Primavera: Young Australian Artists exhibition, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, as well as Melbourne Now (2023), at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Firenze Lai Ching Yin 黎清妍 (b. 1984, Hong Kong) is an artist, illustrator and designer, living and working in London since 2022. In paintings, drawings and watercolours, Lai depicts anonymous figures in everyday urban settings. Her gestural style focuses intensely on subtleties of posture that hint at what they may be feeling or thinking. Her work has been widely exhibited, including the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), the 2015 New Museum Triennale, and the 2014 Shanghai Biennale.

Pamela Leung is a Hong Kong-born artist who moved to Sydney in 1976. Working with installation, video, performance, sculpture and painting, Leung often draws on her personal experience of migration to create a space in which to share ideas of identity and displacement. Since completing her MFA at the National Art School, Sydney, in 2016, Leung has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally and was awarded the Emerging Artist Award at the 65th Blake Prize in 2018.

Cyrus Wai-Kuen Tang (b.1969, Hong Kong) relocated to Melbourne in 2003, completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2004 and a Master of Fine Arts (Research) at Monash University in 2010. Working between photmedia, sculpture and installation, Tang’s works often depict states of ruin and decay as sites of nostalgic, analogue resistance amid the erosion of the digital present. Tang is the recipient of the 2020 McClelland National Sculpture Prize.

Hiram To 杜子卿 (1964–2017) was born in Hong Kong, but spent formative years in Scotland (1978-83) and then Australia (1986-1995), studying design and printmaking. To's conceptual installations and performances challenged identity stereotypes from the mass media, commodity culture as well as the art world, embracing the deconstruction of identity from his cosmopolitan, queer perspective. In 1994 he was offered a landmark solo exhibition at Camden Arts Centre, London, and in 2007 represented Hong Kong at the 52nd Venice Biennale. From 1995, To returned to Hong Kong, working in journalism and media.

Howie Tsui Ho Yan 徐浩恩 (b. 1978, Hong Kong) lives and works in Vancouver. Tsui’s highly detailed work combines ink and brush painting and illustration with street culture and tattoo art. Influenced by martial arts (Cantonese: mouhap, Mandarin: wuxia) narratives he grew up reading and watching on VHS video tapes from Hong Kong, in illustrations and animation works. Tsui combines the grotesque, macabre and humorous to express allegorical, diasporic perspectives on contemporary geo-politics.

John Young AM 楊子榮 (b.1956, Hong Kong) is one of Australia's most senior Asian Australian artists. Over four decades, Young’s work has explored postmodern philosophy and aesthetics, cultural hybridity and most recently, acts of compassion in the face of historical trauma, in his History Projects. His works have been shown in major exhibitions both in Australia and abroad, including at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York,  in 1995; they have also been collected by major public institutions, including M+ Museum, Hong Kong. In 1995 Young co-founded what is now 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, serving as its chair for many years. In 2020, Young was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the visual arts.

Curator

Dr Olivier Krischer is a historian and curator of modern and contemporary art and photomedia from East Asia and its diasporas. He is currently a lecturer in the MA Curating and Cultural Leadership at UNSW Art and Design, and lecturer of modern and contemporary Asian art history at the National Art School, Sydney. Previous curatorial projects include Wei Leng Tay – Abridge (2021) and Wayfaring: Photography in 1970s-80s Taiwan (2021, co-curated with Dr. Shuxia Chen); and he is editor and co-editor of John Young: The History Projects (Power Publications, 2024), Zhang Peili: from Painting to Video (ANU Press, 2019) and Asia through Art and Anthropology: Cultural Translation Across Borders (2013, with F. Nakamura, M. Perkins).

This exhibition is made possible through the generous loan of works from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Griffith University Art Collection, and White Rabbit Collection. The Australian Centre on China in the World also gratefully acknowledges the b minor for their support of the publication and the ANU School of Art & Design, the ANU School of Music, and the Drill Hall Gallery for their collaboration and support of the exhibition production and program.

Pamela Leung, 'Agglomerate', 2022, crochet newspaper, detail view; image courtesy and copyright the artist; photo: Jennifer Brady.
Pamela Leung, 'Agglomerate', 2022, crochet newspaper, detail view; image courtesy and copyright the artist; photo: Jennifer Brady.
Pamela Leung, 'Agglomerate', 2022, crochet newspaper, detail view; image courtesy and copyright the artist; photo: Jennifer Brady.
Pamela Leung, 'Agglomerate', 2022, crochet newspaper, detail view; image courtesy and copyright the artist; photo: Jennifer Brady.
 John Young, 'Hong Kong Burns', 2000
John Young, 'Hong Kong Burns', 2000, detail, digital print and oil on canvas, 288 x 138cm. Courtesy the artist
Chan Tze Woon, 'Blue Island' 2022
Chan Tze Woon, 'Blue Island' 2022, screenshots

Event details

Event date

Mon, 12 Feb 2024, 9am - Fri, 24 May 2024, 5pm