Identity in Collage art

The community workshop to explore your personal identity

The idea of ‘identity’ is complex and multi-faceted. Lustig and Koester (1999, 138) offered a broad definition of cultural identity and described it as a "sense of belonging to a particular culture or ethnic group. It is formed in a process that resulting from membership in a particular culture, and it involves learning about and accepting the traditions, heritage, language, religion, ancestry, aesthetics, thinking patterns, and social structures of culture." A person's identity changes, as does one's ongoing experiences in life (Lustig and Koester, 1999, 135). So then, there is more than one description of what cultural identity is, and it will constantly change over time.

One of the foundational identities of this project will be Hongkongers. The word Hongkonger first appeared in 1870, but the term and the concept were not widely used until the 1980s. In 2014, Hongkonger and Hong Kongese were officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary . It refers to "a native or inhabitant of Hong Kong".

Hongkongers who joined the workshops emigrated to the United Kingdom in a particular space of time. Each participant in the programme emigrated from Hong Kong between 3 weeks to 6 years ago and is now living in the Tyne and Wear area. 12 Hongkongers, 12 collage artworks, 12 identities.  We hope to see a person’s identity through their artwork and if it has changed now that they have moved away from their home country. 

Various scrap materials were provided to the participants, including printed pictures, newspapers, and magazines of Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. They were also encouraged to prepare their own materials. By choosing, cutting, tearing, positioning, pasting and overlapping the materials on the blank canvas, they have all the freedom to explore their sense of identity through making their individual collage artwork. As the participants were being asked: Who are you? Let's see if you can find out what they think in their art creations.

Lustig, M. and Koester, J., 1999. Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication Across Cultures. 3rd ed. New York: Longman.