The Transnational Cultural Affiliations of Hong Kong

Ms Genevieve Trail1

1The University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

This paper will examine two instances of intra-Asian cultural affiliation to propose new methods of art historicisation that better reflect contemporary contexts of globalisation and the post-national order. Selected case studies discuss two contemporary Asian artists who, through their practice, have engaged with Hong Kong’s culture and/or politics from a non-local position. Firstly, the works of Guangzhou born Lin Yilin (b.1964), through which he reveals an intense concern with Hong Kong politics in relation to the 1997 handover; and secondly those of younger Singaporean artist Ming Wong (b.1971), who researches translocal cultural connections through his Hong Kong based investigations into Cantonese Opera. The active intra-Asian cultural investment evident in the work of these two artists are demonstrative of the kinds of transnational cultural, linguistic and personal affiliations that are generally obscured by art histories that maintain a nationally bounded narrative perspective. Through these case studies, this paper will highlight the role of mobility in the circulation of ideas, individuals, and objects, and their potential to influence cultural values and the vernacular of a site more broadly. Foregrounding migratory experience within art history feeds into a larger conceptual paradigm of ‘world making’, as a future art historiographical methodology that recognises the fluid movements of individuals and cultures across state-lines, the exacerbated dismantling of geoethnic cultural boundaries that has occurred through processes of war, revolution and globalisation, and consequent disruptions to the links between nation and identity.


Genevieve Trail is an arts writer and critic currently based in Naarm/Melbourne. She has been published in Art + Australia, Art Monthly Australasia, Photofile and Un Magazine amongst others.
Genevieve holds a BA (Hons 1) in Art History from the University of Melbourne, and her Postdoctoral proposal to research Hong Kong art vis-a-vis a diasporic framework at The University of Melbourne is currently pending.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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