The Sydney Asian Art Series is free and open to the public. Upcoming events will be announced here soon.
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, this lecture by Professor Ajay Sinha builds an illustrated story of mutual fascination and transcultural exchanges triggered by the camera placed between the dancer and the photographer during the photoshoot.
This event was held at the University of Sydney on Tuesday 29 May 2018.
Ajay Sinha is Professor of Art History, Asian Studies, and Film Studies programs at Mount Holyoke College, U.S.A. As a specialist of South Asian visual and material culture, his research areas include the history of ancient religious architecture, as well as modern and contemporary art, photography and film in India. His scholarship and teaching are informed by post-colonial theories, perspectives on global modernities, as well as critical media and technology studies. Publications include Imagining Architects: Creativity in Indian Temple Architecture (2000), and a volume of essays on Indian film, co-edited with Raminder Kaur, titled Bollyworld: Popular Indian Cinema through a Transnational Lens (2005). His current, book-length work relates to transcultural photography, and tells a story of the interactions between Ram Gopal and Carl Van Vechten.
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?
This event was held on Saturday 28 April 2018.
Winnie Wong is a historian of modern and contemporary art and visual culture, with a special interest in fakes, forgeries, frauds, copies, counterfeits, and other non-art challenges to authorship and originality. Her research is based in the southern Chinese cities of Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and her writing engages with Chinese and Western aesthetics, anthropology, intellectual property law, and popular culture. She is the author of Van Gogh on Demand: China and the Readymade (University of Chicago Press, 2014), which was awarded the Joseph Levenson Book Prize in 2015. Her articles have appeared in positions: asia critiques, the Journal of Visual Culture, Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, and she has written for Omagiu, Third Text Asia, and Artforum. Winnie was a Senior Fellow at Dartmouth College, and received her SMArchS and PhD in History, Theory and Criticism from MIT. She was elected a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows. She is currently Associate Professor of Rhetoric and History of Art at the University of Berkeley.
Tuesday 8 May
A closer look at how philosophy, marine geoscience, art, and literature explore different ways of knowing the sea, and how they might inform one another in the future.
Tuesday 15 May
Poet Mark Tredinnick will be in conversation with Professor Robyn Ewing AM discussing the landscape in and of contemporary poetry and the role of the lyric in a time of spiritual and ecological crisis.
Monday 2 July
Join us to hear Dr Sandra Barker discuss how therapy dogs help people in a variety of settings.