Women in Art: Hong Kong

March 8, 2019 10:00 am - July 31, 2019 6:00 pm

Women in Art: Hong Kong brings together the works of seven contemporary female artists covering the past 50 years of artistic development in Hong Kong. The works, which are in a variety of mediums from ink drawing to installation, all explore contemporary politics and the role of female artists within it. This timeframe encapsulates a period of monumental political and artistic change in Hong Kong and the rest of the world, complementing the works of international modern and contemporary art in the Women’s Art Collection.

The works in Women in Art: Hong Kong are united by their simultaneous use of traditional techniques and contemporary themes and imagery. In her landscapes from the 1970s and 80s, the late Fang Zhaoling employs a classical calligraphic style to confront the pressing issue of human beings’ relationship with the environment. Jaffa Lam takes on the culturally loaded symbol of the spittoon in her kitsch ‘found sculpture’, which was inspired by a photograph of Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping discussing the handover of Hong Kong.

Mediha Ting and Ko Sin Tung both capture the freneticism of contemporary urban life in their brightly-coloured multi-media works, which incorporate billboard imagery and computer speak. The works by Au Hoi Lam and Man Fung Yi recall American and European feminist works of the 1970s with their use of textiles, while also carrying strong political messages about contemporary Hong Kong. ‘Drowned Books’, a newly-created work by Yan Chi Choi also confronts the recent history of the region, featuring a stack of books submerged in vegetable oil, which simultaneously preserves and destroys them.

Opening on International Women’s Day, the exhibition is shown alongside new research by Women’s Art Collection and the Asia Art Archive which focuses on the status and representation of women artists working in Hong Kong over the last five decades. Hong Kong’s colonial past, geographical location and political history make it a fascinating case study for the emergence of female artists. Through a series of group conversations with artists of different generations, the project tracked the shifting experiences of female artists: from the baby-boomers born in the 1940s and 50s who were forced to study art abroad, to through to those born in the mid-1980s who were liberated by an increasingly globalised art scene, but curtailed by the repressive actions of the government.

This exhibition is co-curated by the Women’s Art Collection team (Professor Martin Roland, Sarah Greaves, Naomi Polonsky and Harriet Loffler) and Eliza Gluckman, Senior Curator at the Government Art Collection.


Au Hoi Lam

Fang Zhaoling

Jaffa Lam

Ko Sin Tung

Man Fung-yi

Mediha Ting

Yan Chi Choi

Read our blog: Eliza Gluckman, Former Curator of the Women’s Art Collection, talks about the exhibition.