Eliza Gluckman, Curator, New Hall Art Collection, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge travelled to Hong Kong this month on an ICOM UK – British Council Global Travel Grant. This is Eliza’s blog from her visit.
It has been an intense and busy period working towards the launch of our research on women artists in Hong Kong alongside independent researcher Phoebe Wong and the Asia Art Archive. On Monday 5th March the exhibition Women in Art: Hong Kong, opened at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, and on Wednesday 7th March we celebrated the launch of the research.
The New Hall Art Collection at Murray Edwards College is the largest collection of art works by women in Europe. The college was founded in 1954 and was created to increase provision for women at the university, and continues to advocate for equality. As of 8th March, coincidentally International Women’s Day, we became a fully Accredited museum collection and have over 500 works and are the largest collection of works by women in Europe.
Since 2000 Asia Art Archive have endeavored to contribute to a more generous world art history by spotlighting less visible art histories, making them more accessible for scholarship, research, and education. A few of their current key priorities include:
- looking at ideas that connect us beyond national borders (complex geographies);
- considering tradition and contemporary expression in parallel;
- and addressing gaps in art history and their collection – such as the imbalance of the representation of women,
It is these that I believe have made this an ideal partnership.
Co-founder and Director of the Asia Art Archive, Claire Hsu linked me up with Phoebe Wong and it has been a great adventure to undertake the research with her. The data gathering and number crunching, as you will see, is an effective way to draw attention to the gender gap, but Phoebe has brought the research in to a very human dimension, interviewing individual artists and peer groups. These conversations that relay real experiences are really the core to our research; they unearthered common threads amongst or across peer groups in the themes of migration, the politics of identity, duality and, interestingly, cinema among others.
The exhibition reflects the inter-generational conversations we’ve had – and I want to thank all of the artists and lenders to this exhibition for letting us show such an credible range of strong works. We are absolutely delighted that works by Jaffa Lam, Au Hoi Lam and Choi YanChi will be joining the New Hall Art Collection and we very much hope to be able to add more work by Hong Kong artist to the collection.
At an important moment in the history of Hong Kong’s cultural landscape, as M+ and Tai Kwun, alongside new commercial galleries, are set to open, and the power and pull of Art Basel Hong Kong continues, we hope that this research and publicity around this exhibition will not only celebrate the contribution of women but also raise urgent questions that ensure all voices are heard. I look forward to the conversations on Saturday when we continue with a symposium, ‘Hong Kong Conversations’.
 From Asia Art Archive website. https://aaa.org.hk/en/ideas/ideas/building-asia-art-archive.