Educators' Voices

School Visit Case Study | Contemporary Art Study— From Research and Archive to Art Making

School: Munsang College
Teacher in charge: Ms Lam Mau, Head of Visual Arts Department
Participating students: S.4 students

Introduction

From Wong Wai Yin’s Collection to the Hong Kong Art Archive is a project created by the Hong Kong artist Doris Wong Wai Yin when she carried out a residency at Asia Art Archive (AAA) in 2011. She compiled her own personal collection, including documents from her childhood, business cards of people she encountered, unrealised proposals, etc. She also created oral history of local practitioners and contributed this “Hong Kong Art Archive” to AAA.

This lesson plan explores how research and archive can be means to inspire art making and self-discovery. By making use of Doris Wong Wai Yin’s project as a point of departure, students build personal archives, and create self-reflection art. Students then curate exhibitions of artworks at their own homes.

Lesson Plan

Objectives

  • Students will gain hands-on experience with creating artworks inspired by research and personal archives.
  • Students will examine the dynamics among artist, artwork and audience in the context of contemporary art, through putting together an exhibition at their homes.
  • The lesson emphasises the relevance of contemporary art to the individual by encouraging students to carry out a journey of self-discovery and re-examine one’s identity, roles, and relationship with one’s family.

 

Lesson Overview

Part 1: Preparation—Before Visiting AAA

Activity:
Teacher introduces examples of artists making use of research as a way to start art making.

Examples of Artworks and Exhibitions:

 

Part 2: Visit to AAA (2 hours)

Activities:

Take Home Assignment:

Each student research on his/her own personal history. Students build their own personal archives by collecting artifacts and materials that they think are able to represent them, e.g. photos, diaries, official documents, letters, etc.

Image: Visit to AAA.
Image: Visit to AAA.

 

Part 3: Presentation of Personal Archives

Activity:

Students share their own personal archives and collections. Students give feedback to each other.

Take Home Assignment:

Students create artworks based on their research and archives. The artworks will be about oneself or one’s relationship with his/her family.

Image: Students’ presentation of personal archives.
Image: Students’ presentation of personal archives.

 

Part 4: Presentation of Artworks

Activity:

Students present their artworks inspired by their personal archives. Students give feedback to each other.

 

Part 5: Exhibition at Home

Activities:

  • Students set up an exhibition of their artworks in their own homes. Students take photo documentations of the exhibition and take notes of how their family members interact with or give feedback to the exhibition.
  • Students come back to school with the documentation and share their experience.
Image: Documentation of a student’s artwork and the exhibition at home.
Image: Documentation of a student’s artwork and the exhibition at home.

 

Guiding Questions for Discussion with Students

  • How will you start with researching on yourself?
  • From your personal archive, pick five images/visual materials that you think are able to represent you the most, and explain why.
  • What do you think about the relationship among artist, artwork, and audience?
  • If you can set up an exhibition at your home, what will the exhibition be about? What do you want to share with your family?
  • What does “home” mean to you?

 

Students’ Reflections

Some students shared their reflections on how the AAA visit and Doris Wong Wai Yin’s project inspired them in their HKDSE School-based Assessment (SBA) portfolios:

Tjia Man Yan, class of 2019, admitted to The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Fine Arts)

Image: excerpt of SBA portfolio.
Image: excerpt of SBA portfolio.
Image: excerpt of SBA portfolio.
Image: excerpt of SBA portfolio.

“I found the first-hand information of some artists and their biography, they are very interesting to look at because they were telling me different visions that artists were upholding and their personalities, roles and identities."

“I am glad that AAA gave us a glance at the archive collection of Doris. It is made up of correspondence and interviews with fellow artists in the community, catalogues as well as school report cards and drawings donated by her father, were also integrated into the collection."

Image: excerpt of SBA portfolio.
Image: excerpt of SBA portfolio.

 

Kam Long Yin Brian, class of 2019, admitted to The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Design)

Image: excerpt of SBA portfolio.
Image: excerpt of SBA portfolio.
Image: excerpt of SBA portfolio.
Image: excerpt of SBA portfolio.

“During Form 4, my teacher brought us to Asia Art Archive, a non-profit organization based in Hong Kong which focuses on documenting the recent history of contemporary art in Asia. We were asked to bring all work, photos and documents representing our lives which allowed me to recall all the imaginations towards cities during my childhood. I surprisingly found the imaginative power during small was tragically greater than now. Because of the enormous studying pressure in secondary school life, I have put all my creativity aside, which in turn just finished the tasks, homework and examinations set by the sluggish education system. Art is a self-discovering and exploring process of oneself. In the coming artwork I want to redevelop my creativity base on different practical knowledge and previous imagination towards ‘metropolis.'”

Image: excerpt of SBA portfolio.
Image: excerpt of SBA portfolio.