Teaching Materials

Contemporary Art Study—From Research and Archive to Art Making

Contributor: Lam Mau, Head of Visual Arts Department, Munsang College
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 did a residency at Asia Art Archive (AAA) in 2011. She compiled her own personal collection, which included documents from her childhood, business cards of people she encountered, unrealised proposals, etc. She also created an 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. Taking Doris Wong Wai Yin’s project as a point of departure, students built personal archives and created introspective artworks. Students then curated exhibitions of artworks at home.

Lesson Plan

Objectives

  • Create artworks inspired by research and personal archives.
  • Examine the dynamics among artist, artwork, and audience in the context of contemporary art, through putting together an exhibition at home.
  • The lesson emphasises the relevance of contemporary art to the individual by encouraging students to carry out a journey of self-discovery and reexamine 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 begin the process of 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, then 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 their 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, and give feedback to each other.

 

Part 5: Exhibition at Home

Activities:

  • Students set up an exhibition of their artworks at home. Students take photos to document the exhibition, and make notes on how their family members interact with or give feedback on the exhibition.
  • Students return 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 best represent you, and explain why.
  • How do you look at the relationship among artist, artwork, and audience?
  • If you can set up an exhibition at 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 first-hand information of some artists and their biography, they are very interesting because they were telling me different visions that artists were presenting 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, all of which were 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.

“In Form 4, my teacher brought us to Asia Art Archive, a non-profit organisation based in Hong Kong which focuses on documenting the recent history of contemporary art in Asia. We were asked to bring work, photos, and documents representing our lives which allowed me to recall the imaginations I had towards cities during my childhood. I surprisingly found the imaginative power when I was small was tragically greater than now. Because of the enormous pressure from studying in secondary school life, I have put all my creativity aside, which in turn means I 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 based on different practical knowledge and previous imagination towards the ‘metropolis.'”

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

 

Publishing date: 3 Oct 2019

 

The AAA Learning and Participation Programme is supported by the S. H. Ho Foundation Limited.

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