Held in conjunction with the exhibition Living with Ink: The Collection of Dr Tan Tsze Chor 水•墨•情—又逢香雪庄 (8 Nov 2019–22 Mar 2020), this one-day symposium brings together art historians and curators to examine the development and appreciation of Chinese art in networks of overseas Chinese artists and collectors in the late 19th and early 20th century. Panels explore how visual art can be studied as expressions of identity by overseas Chinese communities in this period, as well as the early collecting of Chinese art and the later consolidation of these collections into museums and other national institutions.
Keynote Lecture: Yeo Mang Thong, Independent Scholar
Panel Discussion: Studying ink art in Singapore and how the National Collection was built
Panel Chair: Cai Heng, Senior Curator, National Gallery Singapore
Yeo Mang Thong, Independent Scholar
Low Sze Wee, CEO, Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
Kwok Kian Chow, Founding Director, Singapore Art Museum
Panel 1: Visual art and Chinese identities
Panel Chair: Conan Cheong, Assistant Curator, Asian Civilisations Museum
I Lo-Fen, Associate Professor, School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University
Lee Chor Lin, Museum Consultant
Hwang Yin, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Department of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore
Panel 2: Collecting Chinese art overseas
Panel Chair: Lee Chor Lin, Museum Consultant
Mei-chin Liu, Director, Hwakang Museum of the Chinese Culture University Taipei
Sunny Tang, Curator (Chih Lo Lou), Hong Kong Museum of Art
Jennifer K.Y. Lam, Assistant Curator, National Gallery Singapore
Kwok Kian Woon, Professor of Sociology, Nanyang Technological University
Talks will be in English and Mandarin. Simultaneous translation devices will be available at registration desk 30 minutes before the programme starts.
ABOUT THE RESOURCE PERSONS
Kennie Ting is the Director of the Asian Civilisations Museum and the Peranakan Museum, and concurrently Group Director, Museums, at the National Heritage Board (NHB) Singapore, overseeing national museums and festivals managed by NHB. As director of the Asian Civilisations Museum, he has overseen the shift in the museum’s curatorial approach from a geographical focus to a thematic, cross-cultural one, and from an ethnographic focus to a focus on decorative arts. He and his team of curators have presented recent exhibitions on the arts of Myanmar, Korea, Angkor, and Java, on the material culture of cosmopolitan Asian port cities, and on contemporary Chinese couture. He is interested in the history of travel and the heritage of Asian port cities, and is the author of the books, The Romance of the Grand Tour – 100 Years of Travel in South East Asia and Singapore 1819 – A Living Legacy.
Yeo Mang Thong
Yeo Mang Thong is a Singaporean scholar and senior educator.
He graduated from Nanyang University in 1977 and has an MA in Chinese Studies from National University of Singapore (1986). Since 1967, he has served in Singapore’s Ministry of Education and other educational institutions (such as the National Institute of Education at Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Institute of Management University) in various capacities.
His publications include《新加坡战前华人美术史论集》(Essays on the History of Pre-war Chinese Painting in Singapore, Singapore Society of Asian Studies, 1992) and《流动迁移 · 在地经历－新加坡视觉艺术现象（1886–1945）》(Migration – Transmission – Localisation: Singapore Visual Arts Scene, 1886–1945), published in Chinese by Confucius Institute, Nanyang Technological University in 2017, by Zhejiang People's Fine Arts Publishing House in 2019 in China, under the title《新加坡美术史论集》(Essays on the History of Chinese Painting in Singapore), and in English by National Gallery Singapore in 2019 as Migration, Transmission, Localisation: Visual Art in Singapore (1886–1945).
Cai Heng received a PhD in Art History and Theory from the University of Sydney. She is currently a senior curator at the National Gallery Singapore. Her recent exhibitions include Wu Guanzhong: Expressions of Pen and Palette (2018-2019) and Rediscovering Treasures: Ink Art from the Xiu Hai Lou Collection (2017). Counted among her publications are “Tradition unfettered: The story of Singapore ink,” in Siapa Nama Kamu? Art in Singapore Since the 19th Century (2015); “Beauty beyond form: The thought and art of Wu Guanzhong,” in Wu Guanzhong: Beauty Beyond Form (2015); and “The Xiu Hai Lou Collection: A Glimpse into the Evolution of Modern Chinese Painting,” in Rediscovering Treasures: Ink Art from the Xiu Hailou Collection (2017).
Kwok Kian Chow
Kwok Kian Chow was Senior Curator of the National Museum of Singapore (1992–94), Director of the Singapore Art Museum (1994–2009), and Director, then Senior Advisor of the National Gallery Singapore (2009–2011; 2011–15). Kian Chow played a key role in developing Singapore’s two main public art museums as well as the national collection of Southeast Asian art. Kian Chow was Commissioner of the inaugural Singapore Pavilion in the Venice Biennale (2001), a three-term board member of the International Committee of Museums and Collections of Modern Art (2007–16), and a founding member of the Asian Art Museum Directors’ Forum. He was Associate Professor and headed the arts and culture management programme (2015–19) and Wee Kim Wee Centre (2017–18) at Singapore Management University. He holds the Singapore Public Administration Medal (Silver) and the Officier and Chevalier titles in the French Order of Arts and Letters.
Low Sze Wee
Low Sze Wee is currently Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre. Initially trained as a lawyer, Low later graduated with an MA in History of Art from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is on secondment to the centre from the National Gallery Singapore, where he was Director (Curatorial, Collections and Education). In his present role as CEO of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, he leads a team with the aim of promoting the development and greater appreciation of Chinese Singaporean culture.
Conan Cheong is the curator for Living with Ink: The Collection of Dr Tan Tsze Chor. He received an MA in Art History and Archaeology under the Alphawood Scholarships at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. As Assistant Curator for Southeast Asian art at the Asian Civilisations Museum, he has worked on the permanent galleries for Chinese ceramics and for the Hindu-Buddhist art of South and Southeast Asia, as well as the special exhibition Cities and Kings: Ancient Treasures from Myanmar (2017).
Lee Chor Lin
Lee Chor Lin, art historian and museum consultant, began her museum career in 1985 as Curator of Southeast Asian collection at the National Museum. She was Senior Curator at the Asian Civilisations Museum (1993–2002), and Director of the National Museum between (2003–13), during which time she redeveloped and expanded the museum, as well as revitalised its displays and programmes, which greatly influenced the museum scene in Singapore. Lee was CEO of Arts House Limited (2013–16), which ran the then 35-year-old Singapore International Festival of Arts.
For her contributions to the arts, Lee was conferred Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France in 2009, and Cavaliere, Ordine della Stella d’Italia, by Italy in 2012. Her current interests include Chinese artists in pre-war Singapore and the food writings of Modernist Chinese writer Wang Zengqi, and is writing a book on batik.
Hwang Yin is an art historian, writer, and editor currently based in the Chinese Studies Department, National University of Singapore, as adjunct Senior Lecturer. She was the Founding Director of the consultancy Kasuri Asian Art Research. She received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She previously taught at SOAS and the University of Hong Kong, and was Managing Editor for Orientations, the Asian art magazine. Areas of research interest include Chinese painting; Chinese printmaking; visual, print and popular culture, especially of the late imperial and Republican period; collecting and connoisseurship; historiography of Chinese art history; art theory; comparative modernities in Asia; contemporary Asian art, and Asian art in emerging markets.
Associate Professor I Lo-Fen teaches at the School of Humanities at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and is a special columnist for Lianhe Zaobao. She is also Founder and Honorary President of the Text and Image Studies Society in Singapore, board member of the China Su Shi Studies Society, and international board member of the Korea Society of East Asian Comparative Literature. Her research expertise is in Text and Image Studies, Su Shi (Su Dongpo) studies, East Asian literature and intercultural exchanges in Classical Chinese, and Singapore literature, history, and arts studies. She has published nine academic books, more than 100 academic journals and articles, and has edited or co-edited nine books. She has also written 14 novels and anthologies of prose.
Her recent publications include:《书艺东坡》(The Art of Su Dongpo’s Calligraphy) (Shanghai Chinese Classics Publishing House, 2019), 《东张西望：文图学与亚洲视界》(Observing the Synergy: Text and Image Studies and Asia Horizon) (Global Publishing, 2019), and 《南洋风华：艺文．广告．跨界新加坡》(Gorgeous Nanyang: Arts, Advertisements, Crossover Singapore) (Global Publishing, 2016).
Liu Mei-chin received her MA in Japanese Language and Culture in 1986 from Soochow University, with her thesis《山鹿素行の日本中朝事实について》 (“Yamaga Sokō’s ‘Japan’s Chinaism’”). The Chinese versions of her two books about Japanese Confucian philosophers Yamaga Sokō and Ogyū Sorai were included in《世界哲学家思想丛书》 (World Philosophers and Their Thoughts series), edited by Professor Charles Wei-Hsun Fu. After graduation, she worked at the National Palace Museum and published arts-related articles in 《思源雜志》 (Si Yuan Magazine). She received a scholarship from Taiwan’s Ministry of education in 1993 to pursue her PhD in art research at the University of Tsukuba. After receiving her PhD, she worked at the National Museum of History and went on to serve as Director of the Department of Applied Arts at Fu Jen Catholic University, and subsequently, the Art Research Institute of National Cheng Kung University, as Researcher and Director of the institute. She joined Chinese Culture University’s Hwa Kang Museum in 2014. Her areas of expertise are Japanese thought, art theory, and Chinese and Western art appreciation.
Jennifer K.Y. Lam
Jennifer K. Y. Lam is currently a curator at the National Gallery Singapore. Read in Art History from The University of Hong Kong, she also holds an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from Royal College of Art, London, where she co-curated Whose Game Is It? (2015, London) and Of Our Own Making (2014, Cambridge), among other curatorial projects. Prior to returning to Singapore, she was Visiting Curator at Palais de Tokyo, Paris. While at the National Gallery Singapore, Jennifer actively contributes to the continuous research and curation on art in Singapore and the ink medium. She was involved in exhibitions and projects including, Wu Guanzhong: Expressions of Pen & Palette (2018); (Re)Collect: The Making of Our Art Collection (2018); and Rediscovering Treasures: Ink Art from the Xiu Hai Lou Collection (2017).
Sunny Tang graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in 1990. He received his GD in Museum Studies from the University of Sydney in 2000 and MPhil in Chinese Art History at CUHK in 2006. He entered the curator grade of the Hong Kong Government in 1991 and is currently Curator (Chih Lo Lou Collection) of the Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMoA). Over the years, he has organised many exhibitions and has been conducting research in the field of Chinese painting and calligraphy, including the Xubaizhai Collection and the Chih Lo Lou Collection of the HKMoA.
Kwok Kian Woon
Kwok Kian Woon is Professor of Sociology at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, where he has served as a founding member of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the first Head of Sociology, Senate Chair, and Associate Provost of Student Life. His research areas include the study of social memory, the Chinese overseas, and Asian modernity. He is also a member of the Asian Civilisations Museum Advisory Board.
Organised in conjunction with the exhibition