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Sydney Asian Art Series

A series exploring early, modern and contemporary Asian art

The Sydney Asian Art Series brings four international guest speakers to Sydney each year from 2017 to 2019. The lecture series focuses on topics in early, modern and contemporary Asian art.

The Sydney Asian Art Series is a dedicated series of talks on Asian art co-presented by the the China Studies Centre, the Power Institute and VisAsia, with support from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Sydney Ideas.

This year we navigated the bustling bookshops of 18th-century Edo Japan, explored artistic responses to European prints in 19th-century Iran, found the intersections of art and law in contemporary China, and took a critical look at exhibitions and nationalism in contemporary India.

Until You See the Original Again: Lam Qua, Chinese Export Artist

Saturday 28 April, 2018, 3.00 - 4.30pm

The Domain, Art Gallery of New South Wales

The Chinese painter known to Europeans as “Lam Qua” was one of the most well-documented artisans working in the port of Guangzhou in the early 19th century. A practitioner of studio portraiture who painted many Europeans and Americans in oil on canvas, he has been portrayed variously as a mere servant to the British painter George Chinnery, a cool operator of an international port market, or a precocious appropriator of European artistic techniques and styles. While very little historical Chinese records have been found to clarify Lam Qua’s biography, he left a fascinating corpus of paintings—including both originals and copies—for us to examine. What can we learn about Lam Qua from his work? Was he an early exemplar of modern art in China, or a mere copyist of European pictures? And how does learning about Lam Qua’s stature alter, in turn, how we might see his work?

Learn more about this free event.


Transcultural Attractions: Photographs of an Indian Dancer

Tuesday 29 May, 2018, 6.00 - 7.30pm

Old Geology lecture theatre, the University of Sydney

In the Spring of 1938, an Indian dancer, Ram Gopal, posed in a variety of fantastical costumes for the American photographer, Carl Van Vechten, in New York City. Studying the resulting series of 100 remarkable, large-size photographs, the lecture builds an illustrated story of mutual fascination and transcultural exchanges triggered by the camera placed between the dancer and the photographer during the photoshoot.

Learn more about this free event.