Thus, Soil 故,土” – is an art exhibition co-curated by Dr Emily Zong, an environmental humanities scholar, and David Sheil, a British-Hong Kong soil artist, with the support of Au Shue Hung Memorial Library, Hong Kong Baptist University. It presents an ecopoetic dialogue by students, artists, poets, and educators on human-soil relations. 

The art exhibition unfolds in three parts – (1) “Remapping: My Soil Story,” which features personal narratives and artworks connected to soil; (2) “Ecopoetics: Soil Poetry,” where ecology meets poetry; and (3) “Felt Texture: Soil Emotions,” an interactive exploration of the emotions that soil evokes in the young generation. 

The exhibition title, “Thus, Soil,” draws inspiration from the name of Buddha Tathāgata, 如来, which means “Thus come; Thus gone.” With “thus” meaning “in this way” and “cause and effect”, the exhibition appeals to ecological mindfulness. It composes an appreciation of soil as the abiding ground and eternal law for all life through our embodied experiences and relational becomings.   

At the heart of the project lies a collaborative experiment between David Sheil and HKBU environmental humanities students: a map of Hong Kong. This unique map, painted with hand-ground soil pigments, displays the diverse colours of the region’s natural soils and geological sediments. Student artists have reinterpreted this map through “embodied soil stories” at multiple sites that have personal connections to them across Hong Kong and beyond. Through methods of urban foraging, place-based poetry, and felt work, the “Thus, Soil” exhibition aims to raise ecological awareness of the overlooked soil lifeworlds beneath our feet and how our everyday life is deeply rooted in the soil. Commoning in a rhizomatic fashion, the exhibition presents artworks that reimagine urban spaces as places for regrowth, repair, and environmental sustainability.  

Venue: 3/F, Au Shue Hung Memorial Library (Main library), HKBU, Kowloon Tong 
Exhibit Dates: 3-19 April, 2024

Virtual Exhibition

“Thus, Soil” Exhibition

Soil A3 RGBOnline version V2 min