Each year, the Sydney Asian Art Series gathers leading international voices on critical issues in early, modern and contemporary Asian art.  In response to the cancellation of in-person events, the 2020 series has moved online. As we embrace this virtual format, the 2020 series aptly explores the intersections of art and visual technologies, in the context of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Asia.

If the modern period has been described as that of the ‘mechanical’ or reproducible image, the contemporary is marked by a visual fluidity that saturates our lives in images. When much of our work or play is mediated by haptic screens, can we learn something about the genesis of such media from artistic cultures across Asia, then and now? How have image technologies been fashioned in the visual arts of Asia? With this theme we seek to encourage thinking about the ways in which technologies became visual media, and visual media were also forms of technology. As the production and conception of visual technologies shifted to Asia throughout the twentieth century, it is now important to reflect on how artists in this region used and shaped such technologies, in ways both resonant and distinct from their global peers, in moving images from contemporary Hong Kong to a photographic archive in South Asia; in the ink paintings of a 1960s Chinese coal mine; and right back to Japanese copperplate reproductions of art in 1880s Shanghai.

Past Events and Recordings

Roundtable | Revisioning the Present
Raahab Allana (Alkazi Foundation of the Arts, New Delhi) with:

  • Diwas Raja KC (based in Kathmandu, Nepal)
  • Ruhanie Perera (based in Colombo, Sri Lanka)
  • Indu Antony (based in Bangalore, India)

Tuesday, 26 November 2020, 4pm-5:15pm
Recording coming soon!



Yung Ma | Reimagining and Conserving the Disappearance of Hong Kong through Moving Image
Artistic Director, Seoul Mediacity Bieannale 2021
Monday, 23 November, 7pm-8pm



Yu-chih Lai | Mediating Tradition: Japanese Copperplate Printing and Art Reproduction in 1880s Shanghai
Associate Researcher, Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Tuesday, 10 November, 1pm-2:15pm

Watch online



Rahaab Allana
Changing Image Practices in South Asia
Curator and Publisher, Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in New Delhi
Thursday, 15 October 2020, 4pm-5pm

Watch online



Lisa Claypool 
The Technological Sublime: An Ink Painter and a Coal Mine in 1960s China
Associate Professor, History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture, University of Alberta
Thursday, 17 September 2020, 10am-11am

Watch online



Zhao Liang (dir.)
Behemoth (2015)
Introduced by Lisa Claypool
Wednesday, 16 September 2020, 6pm-7:45pm

Past Series

The 2019 theme was “Art and Urban Cultures”.

Click here to explore the series.

The 2018 theme was “Uncertain Objects: Trajectories of Asian Art”.

Click here to explore the series.

Presented by

This series of talks and events is co-presented by the University of Sydney’s China Studies Centre, The Power Institute, and VisAsia, with support from the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Originating in and celebrating the very latest and best scholarship in Asian art from around the world, this initiative complements the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ innovative exhibition program in Asian art, and the University of Sydney’s region-leading programs in the arts and cultures of Asia.


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