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Rituals of Passage – A Graduation Show of the Plague Year

8 February 2022 - 18 February 2022



Crystallised from the inaugural Curatorship Incubation Programme 2021 organised by HART, Lesley Cheung is pleased to present her debut exhibition Rituals of Passage – A Graduation Show of the Plague Year at HART Haus in Hong Kong. The exhibition is a mise-en-scène of resilient living, inspired by the acclaimed travelling exhibition A Journal of the Plague Year (2013-2015) and the homonymous publication (2015) by Cosmin Costinaş and Inti Guerrero, both of which lay out the complexities behind the sense of fin de siècle evoked by a plague on biological, socio-political and cultural levels in 2003 in Hong Kong.

Multiple parallels can be drawn between the extraordinary years of 2013 and 2019-2021: pandemics sweeping the city, repressed socio-political aspirations seeking outlets and the gloomy sense of a Hong Kong identity disillusioned. Feelings of fear and isolation figure prominently as well. Taking the expansive inquiry of Costinaş and Guerrero further from here and now, the curator explores how the present peculiar circumstances in Hong Kong manifest in creative expressions.

Contemplating on disruption and discomfort during the plague years of 2019-2021 in Hong Kong, 6 artists stage their perspectives on self-discovery, coping strategies and meaning making. Rachel Au re-creates her studio in the quarantine camp of Penny’s Bay and proudly presents how she reinvented and feasted on notorious ration meals. Chen Yushan invites the audience to a poetic reflection on living alone in a room of memorabilia. Raymond Lok and Joanne Lee build an immersive installation that evokes vertigo of urban navigation and enchantment of new discoveries. Clara Park magnifies the signs of life, expressions and veins, defaced by virus. Vicki Wong takes a deep dive into what coming of age means beyond birthday cakes, one clone at a time. The works of Chen Yushan, Raymond Lok and Clara Park are selected from two “Unforeseen Circumstances” open calls organised by the HKU Common Core in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.

The exhibition serves as a narrative of learning and change. Graduation is taken in a broad sense: who are better students in a graduation show about life in turbulence than us, the ordinary people? From what did we evolve, or graduate? In this regard, the exhibition spotlights amateur artists who met their creative selves these two years, each with a deeply personal story to tell. Conceptualised as a Final Project presentation of Curatorship Incubation Programme organised by HART, the form of a graduation show reflexively marks Lesley Cheung’s foray in curatorial practice.

Rituals of Passage – A Graduation Show of the Plague Year is curated by Lesley Cheung with kind support from HART, HKU Common Core and Locus Creative. This event is part of the Final Project presentation of Curatorship Incubation Programme organised by HART.


Lesley Cheung is an art translator and emerging curator. She read English Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong and has been an advocate of interdisciplinary learning as an alumni consultant at the HKU Common Core. Based in Hong Kong and having resided in the Netherlands and Germany, she aspires to contribute to the intellectual exchange on design research, contemporary art and visual culture between Hong Kong and Europe. For more information, please visit www.lesleycheung.net.

HART is a not-for-profit arts initiative with a mission to foster collaboration and community value through a sustainable culture of creativity. As a collective of art spaces and programming, HART provides subsidized artist’s studio rental for local-based creative talents to work in HART Haus, a shared studio space in Kennedy Town. Over the past three years, HART has supported over 70 artists with networking and exhibition opportunities, and collaborated with them in various community arts and cultural programs, studio events and workshops, giving back to the community in Hong Kong. For more information, please visit thehart.com.hk.

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