Emerging curator Elaine Kim wrote this essay outlining her vision for the ADC exhibition Ceramic Stories [digital connections].

Ceramic Stories [digital connections] is a unique exhibition combining ceramic art and digital technology, offering a perspective on Australia's distinctive multiculturalism through the eyes of an Asian/Australian curator. This fusion reflects a transformative era in artistic expression as participating artists delicately present their diverse stories.

When I first immigrated from Korea to Australia I struggled with the language and adapting to cultural differences. My adjustment period as an immigrant living in Australia continues to this day. Perhaps this process is an experience shared by many individuals who have moved to multicultural societies. While immigration sometimes involves difficult and challenging moments, there is also much to be learned from these experiences with personal insight providing better understanding of cross-cultural interactions. Ceramic Stories [digital connections] aims to showcase the power of art to transcend diversity, foster understanding and evoke empathy. My immigration story helped elevate the exhibition beyond a mere collection of works and it is further enriched by combining the significance of each piece with the artist's personal journeys.

The artists investigated the limits of traditional techniques, bringing their stories to life through the expressive potential of clay. For example, Casey Chen's meticulously hand-painted ceramic works incorporate nostalgic cartoon characters, merging his roots in China with his childhood growing up in Australia. The attitude of this young artist and his appreciation of traditional Chinese craftwork is worthy of praise. These pottery techniques have been elevated by combining Asian aesthetic values with contemporary art.

The artists explored the potential of ceramics to frame new expression and strengthen and develop their creativity and cultural identities. The exhibition seeks to create a unique artistic world combining tradition and modernity as well as cultural influence from East and West. Whilst respecting the aesthetic value and technical excellence of ceramics, there is also a commitment to new possibilities, new stories and pioneering the future of ceramic art.

Sebastian Conti draws inspiration from classic Indian architecture in his work, creating original artistic expression. Characterized by elaborate geometry, beautiful proportion and form imbued with sacred meaning, Sebastian’s work is a testament to his deep appreciation for cultural legacy and the harmony that can be derived between cultures. His work serves as a bridge, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the multifaceted nature of diversity.

Sarah Eddowes' work takes on new dimensions by combining traditional ceramic techniques and contemporary digital art. By incorporating digital technology into handmade ceramics she simultaneously captures a variety of artistic experiences and technological innovations. Her hybrid artwork seems to display the fusion of a multicultural society where seemingly incompatible manual and digital tools come together harmoniously to create very unusual and unique forms of ceramic work. A metaphor for how cultural fusion in modern Australian society, creates a rich and diverse identity.

Midori Goto has recently embarked on her new life as a ceramic artist and we empathise with her journey. Childhood memories and play are beautifully expressed through her hands. Recent challenges and achievements are reflected in the artistic growth of her work which also presents a unique perspective cultivated by her multicultural background.

More than just visual aesthetics, Ceramic Stories [digital connections] invites viewers to interact with the tactile and sensory dimensions of ceramics - the digital elements produce another layer of connection between the viewer and the art. The exhibition's immersive approach transforms viewers from spectators to participants and demonstrates the evolving nature of art in the digital age. We reconsider the boundaries between physical and virtual, traditional and modern and see how ceramic art has emerged at the centre of modern art, advancing to new levels through convergence with technology.

Through the stories of emerging Sydney-based ceramic artists, the exhibition showcases cultural diversity while highlighting the ability of technology to expand and enhance the boundaries of artistic expression. Bringing together two art forms that previously seemed contradictory sheds new light on the evolution and creativity of art.

Elaine Kim speaking at the ADC exhibition launch of Ceramic Stories [digital connections], 2023 Photo: Amy Piddington