365-367 Hennessy Road, Wanchai
51 Kwun Tong Road, Kowloon
Mobile Photography Exhibition
“Folding implies taking care of something, completing something, the duality implied. It is also an action of bending and laying, implied the idea that something is ‘inside’ – tucked away. Unfolding stories and life, has a sense of sharing and exposing; it can be seen as a metaphor to memory, and it echoes and resonates with memory.”
Folding and unfolding a compilation of knowledge, emotions, thoughts and feelings. Turning everything into a foldable and readable narrative.
Every year, Through Our Eyes (TOE) sets a theme for the exhibition of the photography education programme. “Folding / Unfolding” is the theme of the latest edition. Our 14 Artist Educators designed and led different kinds of courses including workshops for 18 participating secondary schools, TOE Advanced Course and workshops collaborating with other organisations. Young people are encouraged to pay attention to their relationship with the surroundings, to understand and observe the world, to examine and deepen their feelings and thoughts, which were then represented and articulated by a combination of photography and other artistic media. As the result of the exercises, young people’s hopes and sentiments have been transformed into something that can be touched, seen and felt.
Identifying students’ inner voice is no easy task. Grown-ups are accustomed to imposing their ways on the youth, or “teaching” them without deviating from their pre-set mindset. What we would like to focus on, is to help students expressing their original intention, to give a voice to what they would have said and they have really felt.
The Mobile Exhibition takes place in different interesting spaces in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. While exhibition is usually organised in an exhibition hall, it can also happen in a small boutique, a café, a bookstore, or an art space. We will showcase works of different themes according to the characteristics of the site so that students’ collection will forge a deeper connection with the exhibition venue. Artist Educators will lead students in organising and setting up the exhibition. The exhibition becomes not just a channel to introduce students’ works to the general public, but also an opportunity for them to mingle and work together.
We aspire to bring arts to territories less travelled, we leave behind conventional venues and engage the community and the quotidian, giving the exhibited works and their creators a chance to bond with the sites. The “kai fong” that passes by, the shopper that strolls along the street, the customer that comes for a sip of coffee, are all invited to enter the world of “Folding / Unfolding” via the form of mobile exhibition.
The two-month-long exhibition will tour to different locations and engage the audience and the community through various activities, such as display of collection, students’ sharing, courses and seminars of different kinds, etc. The exhibition will make its final stop at Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC), where the outcome of the different courses will be showcased as well. Students will introduce their very own work to the visitors and assist the Artist Educators in teaching some of the learning exercises; students who have enrolled in the upcoming TOE progamme will also join the exhibition and workshops. As a result, experience and knowledge are shared, and the spirit of TOE is realised and carried on.
From Folding to Unfolding, it is not only the course of creation, but also a journey of discovery. We hope that you will join us at the exhibition, and let the narrative of the discovery journey unfolds itself.
Let The Youth Grow Up With Art
Through Our Eyes (TOE) has always aspired to open a window of opportunity for young people to connect with art, so that when they grow up, they are offered the chance to experience art. Art is not exclusive to artist, it is almost an instinctive pursuit. We believe that art education teaches us how to find beauty in things; we do not want everyone to appreciate beauty in the same way, but we hope that everyone will become self-conscious of the need to pursue beauty. Photography is a training of our senses. Through images, students learn how to understand the world and beauty with their senses.
The perception of art is the perception of ethic. Beauty demands us to work for a better us, a better world; beauty prompts us to think in a self-conscious way. Our job is to offer students a pragmatic and interesting approach to think. Art education is a key we pass on to students: we show them what art is, let them grow up with art, which eventually becomes a key that helps them to understand and respond to the world.
Our objective is not to nurture future artists. In a society that is becoming amnesiac of the value of art, equating art with crafts or interest class, we want to return art to the hands of the youth. So that, at least, they will have a chance to see the world through this window of art.
Believe us, the world, is indeed different.
We See Ourselves In Students
We believe that in the ideal educational environment, teaching benefits teachers and students alike. TOE’s programme is not just designed for students, but also for our Artist Educators and staff. We must grow together to provide a greater window for our students.
As a programme that is outside of the conventional education system, we always consider how TOE can take on a wider role and what is the nature of art. TOE’s staff and Artist Educators often assume a dual role – we are an educator and the designer of the programme, but we are also an artist and a creator. When we speak of the role of “teacher”, it is often assumed that students need to be taught, be it in the form of spoon-feeding or guidance, there seems to be no place for the act of creating. TOE wishes to balance the dual role of educator and creator – if education itself is part of our creation, what will be its outcome? Will it be of greater help to students? With this approach in mind, we set out to design the programme.
Before becoming an educator, we are first a human being. TOE’s engagement with students is not just about forming a teacher-student relationship, it is an interaction between human beings. We are not just looking for a passion for education, beyond and above that, we hope that everyone will learn of their importance and utilise their potential. Such that our staff and Artist Educators will have a greater understanding of the individuality of students, that they are unique individuals that need patience and guidance, and genuine acceptance and communication.
Our endeavor in the past four years proved that we are indeed making a difference in the lives of others.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Failure, Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes
The emphasis of TOE lies on the individual, not the work. What is learnt from the process is far more important than the quality of the work, it is something worthy of our attention and reflection. While Artist Educators interact with the students, both sides are experiencing a rare process of creation. They might experience obstacles or even failure, but art teaches us not to be afraid of failing, the mistakes should be regarded as the inspirations that lead us to a new direction. This experience shall stay with students and guide them in the future.
Our programme tries to give students the benefit of participating in the entire process of creation: from taking lessons and learning about theories to practising what is learnt and delivering the outcome, we conclude by setting up an exhibition to showcase their work. From the small-scale exhibition that took place in school in 2015 to creating collection in book and print (Photo Matters: Book and Print Festival 2016), this year it has taken the form of mobile exhibition. Step by step, we have come a long way to design a fruitful and fulfilling experience for students.
Give All a Chance to Learn
We wish to bring art education to school, not just for students of visual arts, but for all students.
TOE is entering its fifth year of organising photography programme, it is also a year of self-reflection. While we see the impact art education has made on students, and Artist Educators have given invaluable feedback, yet the value of art education is often ignored or doubted, partly because its outcome cannot be assessed by a measurable standard – art simply cannot be “graded”. Art education stresses on the communication with others, and it needs to be backed by huge resources. Given its intangible nature and unquantifiable impact, how can we justify that the resources have served the purpose and being put to good use?
All these are closely linked with the meaning of education. What we hope to achieve are not students learning happily inside classrooms, but that students’ curiosity is aroused when we open the window of opportunity, we want to see how they will probe and participate in the learning process. We believe that we should give all a chance to learn, so that they will learn to value their inner voice. It doesn’t matter if they end up not developing an interest in art – art education has already helped them to develop the independent thinking that is critical to their growth.
A student shouldn’t be judged solely by his/her work; education cannot be determined as either a success or a failure. This is not just the spirit of art education, but also the spirit of TOE.