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HOPE A charity exhibition celebrating the works of outstanding contemporary Chinese women artists

Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
6 March, 2018
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
20 March, 2018
Event Category:
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“Art is the highest form of Hope” – Gerhart Richter

Join us and a host of internationally-distinguished Chinese women artists at the exclusive opening reception of “HOPE”, a charity exhibition celebrating contemporary Chinese art. Your participation will support a great cause as a portion of sales will directly benefit the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation (HKAHF), the charity dedicated to helping Hong Kong’s disadvantaged people in need of medical treatment.

To coincide with International Women’s Day, Alisan Fine Arts is proud to present “HOPE”, a group exhibition celebrating the works of 11 outstanding Chinese women artists. These talented women traversing several generations and different backgrounds are known for their distinctive work across several media.

Of particular note among this inspiring group are Fang Zhaoling and Irene Chou, influential and innovative Chinese ink masters from Hong Kong, and Chinyee, a Chinese American artist who left China in 1947 for New York to pursue art at the height of American Abstract Expressionism. On display will be paintings, photography, calligraphy and sculptures created by these incredible women. The exhibition will highlight the innovation, diversity, achievements and success of Chinese women artists by using this group as a representation of contemporary women artists over the last century.

One may jump to the conclusion that men’s historical dominance in Chinese society would be reflected in the art world. However, as suggested by the title “HOPE” the situation was not so simple. Since ancient times, a handful of pioneering female artists, such as legendary calligrapher Madame Wei of the Jin Dynasty (265-420), struggled to engage in the male-dominated art discourse of the last millennium, despite restraints placed upon Chinese women by tradition-bound Confucian society. Over the years, conditions for Chinese female artists evolved, and during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), The Jade Terrace History of Calligraphy and The Jade Terrace History of Painting were published, both devoted exclusively to artistic accomplishments by women. More recently, in our post-Mao contemporary Chinese art era, female artists have had unprecedented opportunities. Formerly, it was believed that lack of education was a desirable female virtue. Today however, Chinese art school attendance is equal among women and men. In 2014, Alisan Fine Arts held an inspirational exhibition, “Beyond the Jade Terrace[1] to showcase four young emerging female artists who benefited from the post-Mao reform. We are pleased to announce that three of those artists, Chu Chu, Wang Mengsha and Zhang Yirong are included in the “HOPE” exhibition.

Other artists in the exhibition include talented Hong Kong artists Pat Hui, Man Fung-yi and Kassia Ko, as well as young emerging artists Cherie Cheuk Ka-wai and Zhang Xiaoli.

While improvements were being felt in the post-Mao era in mainland China, conditions across the border in Hong Kong were also changing. Where Fang and Chou had to struggle, artists in the 1980’s were benefiting from Hong Kong’s economic and cultural growth. Pat Hui, Man Fung-yi and Kassia Ko belong to this generation of women. Since the new millennium, Hong Kong has seen a rapid growth in the number of galleries, art fairs, museums, and auction houses. Today, as a result of these developments, Hong Kong is now considered one of the centres of the global art market. Artists Cherie Cheuk and Zhang Xiaoli are among the beneficiaries of this ever-expanding vibrant cultural scene, which has given them a platform to express their art and showcase their unique talents.

Alisan Fine Arts and the artists will donate a portion of the proceeds from the “HOPE” exhibition to support Women of Hope, an awards fundraiser founded in 2014 by the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation. Women of Hope’s goal is to recognize influential women in Hong Kong who champion the call for social justice for women, children and the community, as well as ladies who continue to astound Hong Kong with their ability to create, inspire and offer hope. In this same spirit, the “HOPE” exhibition honours these women artists and their contribution to the contemporary arts.

Proceeds raised will help the underprivileged who do not have the financial means and immediate access to care and provide them with PET/CT scans, MRI, (referred by Queen Mary and Tuen Mun Hospitals) Tomotherapy (referred by Hospital Authority) and Mammogram & breast ultrasound (referred by several local women NGOs).

About the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation (HKAHF)

Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation (HKAHF) was established in 1999 with a mission to assist and support financially disadvantaged people in need of medical treatment in Hong Kong, China, and Asia. Through its individual funds including the Adventist Heart Fund, Cancer Fund, Children’s Hearing Fund, Children’s Orthopedic Fund, Eye Fund, Otological Service Fund, Medical Fund, Development Fund and Healthy Lifestyle Fund, HKAHF strives to positively impact the community and make life-changing differences in the lives of underprivileged children, adults, and the elderly.

Artists Biography

Chinyee is a first-generation Chinese-American artist who associates herself with the New York School of Abstract Expressionism. Born in 1929 in Nanjing, her early childhood was clouded by the onset of the Sino-Japanese War. She began her formal education at Nankai Secondary School in Chongqing. Then in 1947, she was awarded a four-year scholarship to study Fine Arts at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in New York, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1951. She then went on to receive a Master of Arts in Art Education from New York University in 1953, and joined the United Nations after graduation. She was sent to work in Congo in 1961 and was greatly inspired by her time there. It was during the 1950’s that she began to experiment with semi-abstract art, then later, total abstraction. Chinyee’s work combines both Eastern spirit and Western expression. Her gestural and loose brush strokes reflect both Asian brush techniques and years of careful study of modernist abstraction. The spontaneity of touch, the sense of excitement in the off-set compositions, and the unexpected bursts of colours are all genuine expressions of her mood, emotions and life experiences. Her work has been honoured by UNICEF in its educational films, and by the United States State Department “Art in Embassies Program”. A painting was selected for the American Consulate’s residence in Hong Kong from 2014-2016. Her works have been collected by numerous private collectors, UNICEF; Shanghai Art Museum; Nankai University, Tianjin.

Irene Chou (1924 Shanghai-2011 Australia) a student of Lui Shou-kwan and a key figure of the New Ink Art Movement in Hong Kong. The one stroke technique, derived from Chinese philosophy Zen and Taoism which was influenced by her mentor Lui Shou-kwan, has led to her dynamic, abstract paintings—and became her signature style in the 1980’s. Upon graduating from the Economic department at Shanghai St John’s University in 1945, Chou worked as a journalist for Peace Daily Shanghai. Thereafter she left for Taipei and in 1949 for Hong Kong. Five years later she started to learn classical painting under Zhao Shao’ang, a master of the Lingnan school. During 1960’s she was introduced to Western Abstract Expressionism by Lui Shou-kwan and inspired to combine Western and Chinese art while striving to retain the essence of Chinese traditional art. Her works demonstrate a solid grounding in traditional Chinese painting methods as well as the footprint traced from Lui Shou-kwan’s iconic Zen painting. She has won several prestigious awards including the Pacific Culture Asia Museum Fine Art Award, United States, 1973; the Hong Kong Urban Council Fine Arts Award, 1983 and Artist of the Year Award by Hong Kong Artists’ Guild, 1988. After suffering a life-threatening stroke in 1991 she moved to Brisbane, Australia and passed away at the age of 87.  Alisan has been showcasing her works since 1987 and included her in the Lui Shou-kwan 40 Years On Exhibition in 2015.

Fang Zhaoling (1914 Wuxi, China-2006 Hong Kong) is an internationally-renowned artist and a leading light of Hong Kong’s art community. Born to a scholarly family in Jiangsu, Fang Zhaoling was a precocious child with strong interests in Chinese calligraphy. She studied bird-and-flower painting under Chen Jiucun and landscape painting under Qian Songyan while at Wuxi Art College. When she was nineteen, she participated in the “White Wave Art Society” exhibition in Wuxi. Her talent and knowledge of Chinese ink art was evident even at a young age. By 1950, she had resettled in Hong Kong, where she was a student of Zhao Shao’ang, a leading proponent of the second generation of the Lingnan School. Under his guidance, she produced primarily bird-and-flower paintings. By 1953, she had become a student of the celebrated painter Zhang Daqian, canonical artist of twentieth century Chinese ink painting. During the 1960’s, she studied paintings by Wu Changshuo and Qi Baishi in great detail, learning to use their free style method of cursive calligraphy to create paintings. During the 1960-70’s she joined Zhang in Brazil and California, painting with him and participating in several overseas exhibitions. Following Zhang Daqian’s guidance, she sought out raw beauty and the vitality of nature throughout her lifetime. Her composition is firm and solid; her technique is skillful; her paintings are full of great vigor. Her works are collected by major museums around the world including the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; the British Museum; Shanghai Art Museum; Hong Kong Museum of Art; University Museum and Art Gallery, the University of Hong Kong. Alisan has been showing her works since 2000.

Pat Hui an ink painter known for her colourful abstract paintings was like Irene Chou, a student of Lui Shou-kwan’s. Hui was born in 1943 in Hong Kong and currently lives in Minneapolis, United States. Hong Kong ink master Wucius Wong, who she often collaborates with, wrote “her colours are sometimes in quiet pastel shades, but generally tend to exhibit a strong radiant quality, evoking a sense of pathos often expressed in Song poems with themes of solitude, remorsefulness and desolation, employing images of distinctive colour sensations such as falling petals, willows, autumn leaves, the setting sun, the moon.” (Wucius Wong, Pat Hui, Hong Kong: Alisan Fine Arts, 1993, 6) Hui began studying painting under Lui Shou-kwan in 1961 after an introduction by Wong. Upon studying from the University of Hong Kong in Philosophy in 1967, she attended the University of Minnesota where she completed a PhD in Western Philosophy with a minor in Chinese and Indian Buddhism. In 1974, she studied Studio Art and Design at the same university. In 1978, she moved to Canada and began designing clothes using her own technique of painting on silk. Since then she has founded her own fine art gallery Hui Arts in Canada and the United States, and the art studio Traffic Zone Centre for Visual Arts in Minneapolis. All the while she has continued painting, combining her ink art with her studies in philosophy and literature.

Kassia Ko Born in 1952 Guangzhou, Ko, an ink artist, has been practicing under well-known Hong Kong artist, Hung Hoi for almost ten years. At the same time she has been working as a professional designer in Hong Kong for more than thirty years. In 2008, Ko completed her Diploma of Chinese Ink Painting at the School of Professional and Continuing Education of University of Hong Kong (HKU SPACE) and in 2013 was awarded the Master of Fine Arts by Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in conjunction with Hong Kong Art School. Ko enjoys reinterpreting traditional Chinese painting and is inspired by nature, life and the intrinsic beauty of the unadulterated natural landscape of Hong Kong’s outlying islands. Instead of painting the hussle and bussle of Hong Kong’s cityscapes, Ko’s landscapes were often presented in polyptych format, capturing the changing light and shades, and evoking a sense of tranquility and peace.

Man Fung-yi Born in 1968, Man is a well-known figure in Hong Kong’s contemporary art scene, specializing in sculpture and ink installation. Her famous “Cheongsam” sculpture series was previously exhibited at Louis Vuitton in Taipei, Hong Kong and Singapore between 2013 and 2014. A graduate of the Department of Fine Arts at Chinese University of Hong Kong established Artists’ House with Mok Yat-san in 1995. In 1999, she obtained her MA in Fine Arts at CUHK and then worked there as a part-time lecturer until 2001. In 2008, she obtained her MA in Taoism from CUHK. She was awarded Hong Kong Women of Excellence in the Six Arts Award, 2013; Hong Kong Art Biennial Exhibition Award, 2003; Critic Award of “Century • Women Art Exhibition”, Beijing, 1998; and Freeman Foundation Fellowship for Asian Artists, United States, 1997.

Cherie Cheuk Ka-wai was born in 1989 in Hong Kong, where she obtained a BA in Fine Arts with first class honours at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2012. She finished her MA in Fine Arts in CUHK 2017, specializing in Chinese Gongbi painting. Her paintings are often filled with symbols and memories, as well as subjects inspired by her personal experiences and emotions. Cheuk has received Prof. Johnson Chow Su Sing Chinese Painting & Calligraphy Award in 2012, Hong Kong Chinese Meticulous Painting Association Creative Award, and Madam Jan Yun-bor Memorial Awards for Chinese Painting and Calligraphy in 2011. We have included her works in two major group exhibitions: Lui Shou-kwan 40 Years On and Post 97 Hong Kong Ink Art show.

Chu Chu is an accomplished ink painter, calligrapher, photographer, and oil painter. She is currently the Vice-chairman, Hangzhou Woman Calligrapher Association; Guest professor, Faculty of Humanities, Zhejiang University; Associate professor, Research Centre of Modern Calligraphy, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, and Researcher, Lanting Calligraphy Commune, Zhejiang. She was born in 1975 in Hangzhou, and graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at the China Academy of Art in 2000, where she also received her MFA in New Media in 2007 and in 2015 attained a PhD in Calligraphy under the tutelage of Wang Dongling. Since then, the artist has devoted herself to ink painting, and seeks to incorporate this art form with photography and calligraphy. She has received several prestigious awards since 2000 including the Shiseido Prize of Best Female Photographer, the Three Shadows Photography Award, Beijing, 2011; Yearly Cutting-edge Photographer, selected by www.xitek.com, Beijing, 2010; Creative Award of New Media, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, 2006; Excellent Works Award, New Century Oil Painting Exhibition, Hangzhou, 2001; Excellent Works Award, Zhao Mengfu Prize, National Painting Competition, China, 2000.

Wang Mengsha Born in 1982 Wuxi, Wang grew up in an artistic family. In 2006 she graduated from the Xi’an Academy of Fine Art, having studied Animation. Since then she has completed advanced studies at Griffith University, in Queensland Australia, and the University of Southampton, England. After returning to China, she became a full time artist. She has been honoured with many awards, including in 2009 when the Beijing magazine Chinese Painting selected her as one of China’s Young Artists Most Deserving of Immediate Media Attention. In 2011 Bazaar Art magazine selected her artwork as one of The 100 Most Favourite Artworks of the Year. In 2013 the Beijing magazine National Arts awarded her the Golden Star Prize. She currently lives and works in Beijing and Wuxi.

Zhang Xiaoli was born in 1989 in Guizhou, China. She received the Ms Chu Lam Yiu Scholarship and moved to Hong Kong in 2008 to pursue higher education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she received her BA with first class honours in Fine Arts and Biology in 2014. During the graduation show, she received Y.S Hui Fine Arts Award and Wucius Wong Creative Ink Painting Award. Zhang’s works replace elements in Chinese landscape painting – trees, mountains, rocks and figures – with depictions of Lego bricks, as a contemporary way to create dialogues with tradition. In the “Boxed Landscape” series, she uses this language to paint surreal scenes of landscape in daily objects, as a depiction of memories and experiences.

Zhang Yirong was born in 1979 Shanxi, China. She first received her training in classical Chinese ink painting at a young age from her father, Zhang Xiubiao. In 2001 she obtained her BA from Communication University of China, Beijing and a MA from Peking University in 2008. Upon graduation, she spent eight years practicing under the internationally acclaimed artist Liu Dan. With his guidance, she has created meticulous paintings that display her ability to capture painted subjects in exquisite and analytical details. Her art, which often feature a feminine sensitivity and natural style, is swept up in a wide range of classical influences and inspirations from the Song and Yuan Dynasties, particularly the Song Dynasty artistic tradition of direct observation. Zhang’s elegantly wrought compositions avoid hackneyed themes and instead focus on organic source of perfected beauty. She is known for her quietly sophisticated butterfly and flower painting. Her works is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, New York. She has had exhibitions in United States, China and Hong Kong, including our recent group show in 2014, Beyond the Jade Terrace showcasing four young woman Chinese artists.

[1] The title “Beyond the Jade Terrace” was inspired by the anthology of love poems entitled New Songs from a Jade Terrace in the 6th Century A.D. assembled the scholar-poet Xu Ling, the title referencing the luxurious palace apartments in which upper-class women were often relegated. Since then, “Jade Terrace” has served as an abstract literary reference to an ideal, eternal place where immortal women gather to enjoy aesthetic pleasures.


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