Fistful of Colours: Moments of Chinese Cosmopolitanism brings together artworks from the late Qing Dynasty to the present moment to explore the social history of art, with a particular emphasis on the situatedness of Chinese ink works amidst its political milieus. With reference to the concept of Chinese cosmopolitanism as proposed by scholar Pheng Cheah, the exhibition connects the artistic and scholarly advocation embodied by the artists presented, telling a story of the social life between artists and society through both modern and contemporary experiences of the overseas Chinese intellectual and mercantile communities, their pursuits of Chinese modernity, and their collective cultural commitments at the dawn of globalisation.
Revisiting the social genesis of the Lee Kong Chian Art Museum established at Nanyang University in 1970, Fistful of Colours also explores the genealogy of art collecting practices in a modern Chinese context, and in particular, finds inspiration in the intersections between rich art-historical memories and the pivotal historical moments inhabited by the selected artworks and their journey to the Lee Kong Chian Collection at the NUS Museum. Here, the sociopolitical specificity of ink as a primary medium and conceptual focus illuminates the artistic endeavours between creative identities and political aspirations presented through the artists and their works.
When: 16 Sep 2021 - 31 Dec 2023,