project8 is a new contemporary art space in Melbourne’s CBD dedicated to promoting speculative poetic and material innovation through exhibitions and related events.
project8 seeks to speak through the multimodal aesthetic languages of contemporary art to experientially deemphasise differences and contestations grounded in language, politics and culture.
project8 is committed to the promotion and development of discursive exchange, collaboration and partnerships between Australian, Chinese and international artists, researchers and communities actively engaging with contemporary art.
Cūrā8 is a curatorial collective created exclusively for project8 by Melbourne-based artists Kim Donaldson and Sean Lowry. Functioning in a dynamic and mutually responsive relationship between the roles of artist, curator, producer and theorist, Cūrā8 is committed to promoting aesthetic concerns such as poetic and material innovation in contemporary art and curatorship. Importantly, Cūrā8 sees art as central to broader cultural discourse and playing an essential role in better understanding the world we inhabit. These core values underpin a belief in experiential knowledge transmission grounded in aesthetics, spatial relations and material form.
Donaldson and Lowry have worked nationally and internationally for over three decades and are both senior artist academics and program leaders at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. Having independently developed and tested their ideas across a diverse range of artistic, scholarly, curatorial and professional environments, Donaldson and Lowry have now joined forces as Cūrā8 to cultivate new artistic and curatorial partnerships between local and international artworlds and research cultures.
JIAYANG (BETTY) ZHANG is the Founder and Executive Director of project8 and a Managing Director at Arts @ Collins. Her lifelong interest in art can be traced back to her childhood growing up in China, and in particular, to her mother’s insistence that she accompany her to visit museums and galleries. It was in these formative years that Zhang would lose hours contemplating ancient artefacts and historical works of art alike. She still passionately recalls feeling intimately connected through her active childhood imagination to the lives of the countless artists and artisans that had produced beautiful objects while wars and diseases threatened everything else around them. After moving to Melbourne in 2012, she was exposed to more contemporary forms of art, and once again, was indelibly impressed by myriad ways in which artists somehow create beauty and meaning amid the turbulence and uncertainties of our global present. In time, Zhang began to wonder if she could create a space for new forms of beauty and meaning to flourish in ways that might help us transcend challenges and antagonisms so often born of cultural difference. Today, together with the continued support of her mother and in collaboration with University of Melbourne artist academics Kim Donaldson and Sean Lowry, she has established project8 to help realise this lifelong dream. Concurrently, Zhang continues to develop her own studies at the University of Melbourne, where she is soon to complete a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics and Finance).
CHAOHUI XIE is the Gallery Manager at project8. She started her art journey in 2011 studying a Diploma of Visual Art at RMIT University majoring in painting and photography. She later developed her artistic practice and professional experience through a Bachelor of Fine Art (2015), and then a Master of Contemporary Art (2017) at the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne). Since graduating, Xie’s work has been seen in 14 exhibitions in Melbourne and she has curated and directed 5 exhibitions. Now, Xie brings all this knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to the project8 team.
NAN JIANG is the Marketing and Events Director at project8. Jiang has long believed that art plays an essential role in understanding ourselves and the world we live in. Indeed, art has always been central to her life—from painting as a child, through to her extensive creative professional experience in screen production, multi-platform content creation, documentary, directing, and audio-visual production for radio and television. Significantly, Jiang has developed and tested her ideas both nationally and internationally and has worked as a Project Manager and Event Manager in media and culture industries for over nine years. To date, she has organised over 200 public events, ranging from international cultural exchanges and performances, to concerts, large scale sports events, art exhibitions, racing carnivals, various innovation and entrepreneurship competitions, and even the Chinese New Year Rooster festival in Melbourne. Most importantly, she strongly believes in art’s implicit capacity to inspire, connect, and make the world anew.