Before I left Shanghai for UK Summer adventures way back in July, I curated the AIVA Summer Show 2012, an exhibition of fourteen young art and design graduates from the Academy of International Visual Arts (AIVA), Shanghai, China, where I was Course Leader in Visual Arts for the academic year 2011-12. They have recently moved to Birmingham, UK, to start their Undergraduate or Postgraduate studies at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD), also where I am doing my PhD. The funny thing is that within the first couple of weeks of being back in the UK this time around, when attending a lecture by my PhD supervior/Director of Studies, Jiang Jiehong (Joshua Jiang) at BIAD, I was in the company of my past students. When worlds re-collide. A couple of photographs of me with my students have also emerged. A nice reminder of a special and interesting time there. A huge learning curve for both me and them and an experience that I will never forget.
This new generation of creatives from China were working within and between five different art and design disciplines of fine art, jewellery design, product design, animation and moving image, and visual communication, experimenting with a diverse range of traditional and contemporary media and processes including straw, moss, rust, glass, silicon, plastic, resin, digital effects, film, ink painting, papermaking and stop-motion animation, visually interpreting themes and concepts including identity, childhood memory, social issues such as economic and political constraints, and the decay of space. The exhibition was curated with no given theme so the broad range of creativity on show had the power to speak for itself. The opening event celebrated the launch of AIVA’s new online catalogue – ‘On Show’ (onshow.aiva.com.cn) where you can see specific images and words about the students works. Year upon year, this resource hopes to act as a virtual portfolio of all the students’ art and design works, developing into a globally accessible archive.
So here’s to students Bao Yangyi, Chen Siyu, Lao Zheng, Mao Zihan, Shen Fanqi, Tang Xiyang, Xing Yiyin, Xu Honglu, Xu Ruiqing, Zhang Qian, Yang Qiuyu, Yang Ziyi, Zhang Hangyuan, Zhang Xin…I wish you all the best in the next year and can’t wait to see what you create and produce for your Summer shows in 2013.