Sheffield jewellers’ work kept hidden amidst pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong

Sheffield jewellers are waiting for the return of their collections from Hong Kong after they were concealed from the public due to the pro-democracy peace riots.

The ‘storytelling’ collaboration between Sheffield Hallam University and the Hong Kong Design Institute was supposed to exhibit from October 2019 to February 2020.

The exhibition was withheld whilst the protests became increasingly more dangerous and has remained closed to the public since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sheffield Hallam University told students participating in 2019: “None of the exhibits are currently in Hong Kong – we have recalled them to Sheffield or our international office in Beijing.”

Jewellers from the exhibition are still uncertain as to the whereabouts of their exhibits and hope they will be reunited with them soon.

Timothy Machin, gallery manager and curator of the ‘storytelling’ exhibition, said: “I can reassure you that no jewellery is missing, arrangements are in hand to return to students.”

Adesh Tolumbia, 27, a former student of jewellery and materials at the Sheffield Hallam University, has been waiting nearly two years for his exhibits to be returned from Hong Kong

Mr Tolumbia said: “I was so excited to be sending my collection off to Hong Kong, it is so sad that this whole time it has just been sitting in the same box I sent it off in.”

The focus of Mr Tolumbia’s collection is to challenge the boundaries of his chosen medium by using natural materials alongside precious metals to produce a contrasting aesthetic. 

The main features used in these exhibits are sterling 925 silver and pomegranates dried, then varnished with beeswax. It is valued at £2000.

Mr Tolumbia said: “The collection is a contemporary experiment, the pendants I have made using organic matter so there is a good chance that they have completely decayed by now”

The Sheffield Institute for Art has been closed to the public since the 23 March 2020 and remains closed with no clear plans to reopen in the coming weeks.

Written by Stanley Willey

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