Every culture has its own arts and crafts. They could be tools used in everyday life, and at the same time add beauty and spiritual meaning on top of their practical value; they symbolize human creativity and thoughts, and convey cultural values from one generation to the next.
Hong Kong is a multicultural society in which different ethnic communities have co-created social life and enhanced the city’s soft power. But society in general lacks understanding of the various cultures. Arts/crafts is a wonderful means to learning cross-cultural knowledge, through it we share each other’s customs and their meanings, and get a sense of how different communities face life differently. These cultural cognitions and emotional exchanges enhance intercultural sensitivity and empathy in society, allow effective communication in daily life, and even make us happier!
Multiculturalism in Action Project (MIA) began its arts/crafts program with the publication of “Intercultural Hong Kong Classroom: Cultural Arts & Crafts” in 2019. A collection of crafts and stories of 20 contributors from different ethnic backgrounds, it showcases Hong Kong’s cultural diversity and is fondly called “the handicraft book”. We then held community workshops and parent-child classes, which was a delightful experience. In the second half of 2020, under the pandemic we organized 13 online workshops. Participants came from Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, and America, with the oldest being 75 and the youngest 2 years old. Regardless of background and ethnicity, we shared and learned craft/art online for 6 months. We finally met in a virtual party in December and truly became intercultural friends.
To record this craft/art journey across space and time zones, we have set up this online exhibition to present the works of “the handicraft book” contributors and workshop instructors and learners. The exhibition sets no limits to media type nor seeks to pursue specific achievements, but rather aims to express the joy of intercultural communication, thus it is named “#HappyTogether“. There are 4 “exhibition halls”: Happiness in Diversity, Happiness in Meditation, Happiness in Renewing; concluding with Happiness in Future Building, in which the young ones show us their natural appreciation of cultural diversity and point towards a future of equality and happiness.
We hope that cultural diversity and possibilities will bring you more options in life and joy in intercultural friendship. After seeing our exhibition, don’t forget to leave us a comment, and visit the MIA website.
Be happy every day, and be intercultural!
Prof. Siumi Maria Tam
Director, Multiculturalism in Action Project and Exhibition Curator
Assistant, Multiculturalism in Action Project