Portals, Stories, and Other Journeys is an exhibition currently on view at Tai Kwun Contemporary art space in Hong Kong that stems from Asia Art Archive’s research since 2014 into the personal archive of the late Hong Kong–based artist Ha Bik Chuen (1925–2009). This exhibition comprises ten “sets” that share what this archive can do—how it fuels practices of artists, and how it shapes and shifts our understanding of Hong Kong’s history and art. Five of these sets present new commissions by artists Banu Cennetoğlu (Istanbul), Kwan Sheung Chi (Hong Kong), Lam Wing Sze (Hong Kong), Raqs Media Collective (New Delhi), and Walid Raad (Beirut/New York).
This intimate virtual walkthrough and live Q&A was led by curator Michelle Wong, who has been working with the Ha archive from the project’s inception. She guided us through these carefully composed ensembles of images, objects, and stories and illustrated how these sets construct a more complex narrative about Hong Kong’s art ecology and reveal parts of Hong Kong’s cultural worlds that are not always visible.
Michelle Wong is a PhD student in art history at the University of Hong Kong. From 2012–20 she was a researcher at Asia Art Archive, with a focus on Hong Kong art history and histories of exchange and circulation through exhibitions and periodicals. Her projects at AAA included the exhibition Portals, Stories, and Other Journeys at Tai Kwun Contemporary (2021), the Ha Bik Chuen Archive Project, and the Salima Hashmi Archive in Pakistan amongst others. She was Assistant Curator of 11th Edition of Gwangju Biennale (2016), and she independently runs the long term curatorial/collective project Sightlines with artist Wei Leng Tay. She was a 2019 Pernod Ricard fellow at Villa Vassilieff & Bétonsalon, Centre for Art and Research, Paris. In 2020, She developed a series of episodos around the deliberation of discursive justice with Lantian Xie and Kabelo Maltsie, as part of Afterglow, Yokohama Triennale 2020, artistically directed by Raqs Media Collective. Her writing has been published in Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art, 1945–1990 (2018), the journal Southeast of Now (2019), Oncurating and Ocula Magazine