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Chinese contemporary art in Liverpool

10 May 2018 by Sam

screen showing video artwork in St George's Hall

Susan Pui San Lok, ‘Trailers (from RoCH Fans and Legends)’. Photograph Pete Carr

At the Walker Art Gallery we have had a long interest in Chinese contemporary art, and the John Moores Painting Prize China was launched in August 2010. Since then the five prizewinning paintings from the John Moores Painting Prize China have been displayed as part of each John Moores Painting Prize exhibition – you can see this year’s from 14 July to 18 November at the Walker Art Gallery.

Video screen showing wooden boats at sea, hung above a small wooden boat at St George's Hall

Chen Ching-Yuan, ‘The (Flare-s)’. Photograph Pete Carr

If you can’t wait until then, there is currently a great opportunity to see an exhibition of Chinese contemporary art at St George’s Hall as part of China Dream. The exhibition curator tells us more:

“I’m Lindsay Taylor, Curator of PRESENCE: A Window into Chinese Contemporary Art which is open until 3 June at St George’s Hall. The exhibition is a counterpoint to the Terracotta Warriors on display at World Museum – it showcases artworks by 19 artists from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the diaspora. Some of these are based on traditional Chinese art forms such as paper cuts and landscape painting – but with a modern twist. Other works vary from a zombie film to a sculpture of a shoe for a bird made by a former John Moores Painting Prize (China) winner! The exhibition is full of surprises, however the same age old themes of communication, love, death and power that are told in the Terracotta Warriors exhibition are also prevalent here – not much has changed in over 2000 years!

As Curator of the University of Salford Art Collection I aim to develop a collection that tells a story of now. If we live in what some call ‘the Chinese Century’ I feel it is important to explore contemporary Chinese culture within our museum collections as we move to a less western–centric world. Each of the works on show has been collected over the last six years mainly through working in partnership, mainly with our friends at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester but also with Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool. We’re also working with Culture Liverpool and commissioning a new work as legacy of this project which will feature in Episode 2 of China Dream – This is Shanghai opening in July.

If you would like to hear more about ‘PRESENCE: A Window into Chinese Contemporary Art’, I am giving a guided tour of the exhibition in St George’s Hall on Thursday 17 May at 2pm and my co-curator Stephanie Fletcher will give a tour on 31 May at 2pm – the tour is free and we would love to see you. We are also bringing innovators from across the UK together in Liverpool on 11 May to share our experiences of working with and in China and to look for future collaborations. For more information please visit the exhibition events page.”

large screen showing video artwork in St George's Hall

Cao Fei, ‘Haze and Fog’. Photograph Pete Carr

Our advent calendar is going to the dogs!

30 November 2017 by Sam

advent calendar illustration of a winter scene with Liverpool landmarks

With Christmas approaching it’s time for one of my favourite annual traditions – the unveiling of National Museums Liverpool’s free online advent calendar! Each year we ease you into the festive season with daily treats from our collections and displays, including a few surprises, incredible tales and fascinating facts along the way.

Last year’s advent calendar featured cats from our museums and galleries, so to restore balance to the universe, the theme for 2017 is dogs. Read more…

Our advent calendar is full of festive felines!

30 November 2016 by Sam

advent calendar illustration of a winter scene with Liverpool landmarks

It’s that time of year again when we unveil National Museums Liverpool’s advent calendar. As always our Christmas elves (or curators, as they prefer to be known) have been working hard to find lots of treats, surprises and unusual stories to help entertain you in the build up to Christmas day.

This year’s advent calendar has a cat theme, with fabulous felines from our collections and exhibitions waiting for you to discover behind every door. Read more…

Nichelle Nichols – an inspirational Afro Supa Hero

21 September 2016 by Sam

Star Trek action figure in original packaging

Lt Uhura figure, Star Trek. Courtesy of Jon Daniel. © Mego Toy Corporation and Paramount Pictures. 1974.

As the cult sci-fi series Star Trek celebrates its 50th anniversary this month it seems a fitting time to remember the ground-breaking nature of the original series and of one character in particular.

The show’s creator Gene Roddenberry brought together a diverse cast for the key roles to represent his dream of a future where all nations worked together in harmony for the good of the planet. The series might be set in space with a range of fantastical alien species but during the Cold War era it could have seemed just as unlikely to have the Russian officer Chekov working alongside his American colleagues on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.

However, the most influential character of the 1960s series was probably Lieutenant Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols. Read more…

The evolving story of Poppies: Women and War

19 May 2016 by Sam

close up detail of a bright orange poppy

© Lee Karen Stow

There is not long left to catch the incredibly moving and inspiring exhibition Poppies: Women and War, which closes on 5 June 2016 at the Museum of Liverpool before going on tour. Photographer Lee Karen Stow reflects on the exhibition and her plans for the future in her latest blog:

“As the Poppies: Women and War exhibition comes to a close at the Museum of Liverpool, so the poppy flowers begin to bud and bloom in the gardens and fields of England. I’ve planted a few seeds and plants myself this spring, to see and capture the pink, tangerine, blue and black poppies.

For this story is evolving. Read more…

On the Waterfront photography competition winner

4 May 2016 by Sam

children running on the ferry as it goes past Liverpool's waterfront

The winning photograph – ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey 1972’ by Bernard Rose

Our competition to find a photograph to display as part of the On the Waterfront exhibition at Merseyside Maritime Museum attracted almost 500 entries. This meant that our three judges –  the exhibition curator Sarah Starkey, Ian Murphy, deputy director, Merseyside Maritime Museum and exhibition officer Katherine Lloyd – had a very tough but thoroughly enjoyable job to whittle these down to just one winning photograph for the exhibition.  Read more…

Lusitania families reunited

3 May 2016 by Sam

two women

Joyce Percival and Mary Jones at the Lusitania commemoration in 2015

Every year on 7 May Merseyside Maritime Museum marks the anniversary of the tragic loss of the Lusitania with a commemoration and minute’s silence at the quayside, by one of the ship’s propellers which is now part of our collection.

For the centenary of the sinking in 2015 there was also a special service at Liverpool Parish Church Our Lady and St Nicholas. The service included an unexpected twist for Mary Jones, who attended in memory of her great grandfather Michael Cooney, a fireman in the engineering department on board the Lusitania who lost his life in the tragedy, along with his son, also called Michael. Read more…

Bainbridge Island’s Japanese American community

18 April 2016 by Sam

picture of a girl behind rows of barbed wire

Depiction of a girl on the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial © Lee Karen Stow

As part of her ongoing research for the Poppies: Women and War project, photographer Lee Karen Stow has travelled to America. In her latest blog post from her travels, she tells of an encounter with a woman whose life was turned upside down as a result of the Second World War:

“Unexpectedly, whilst visiting Bainbridge Island in America’s Pacific North West, I met Kazuko ‘Kay’ Nakao. Now 97 years old, Kay was one of 227 Japanese-Americans forcibly removed by armed US Army soldiers from their homes on the island one morning in March 1942, to be interned in concentration camps Read more…

Remembering some remarkable women

7 April 2016 by Sam

rows of headstones in Arlington National Cemetery

© Lee Karen Stow

Photographer Lee Karen Stow has travelled to Washington DC in America for the latest stage of research for her ongoing Poppies: Women and War project. She has met and photographed many women on her travels and was also keen to pay tribute to those who are no longer with us. This brought her to Arlington National Cemetary, as she explains:

“At Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC, the final resting place for more than 400,000 military service people and veterans, a handful of notable women are buried. Read more…

Boaty McBoatface and other unusual ship names

28 March 2016 by Sam

sketch of a ship in the river Mersey

Sketch of the unpronouncable Tyrrhenia leaving Liverpool by EW Barrett, 26 January 1924. Accession number 1987.118.4.14

Just across the river from Merseyside Maritime Museum, Camell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead has produced many well-known ships over the years – HMS Ark Royal and Mauretania II to name just two. However a ship is currently being built there which is arguably more famous than any of these – quite an achievement when it isn’t due to be launched until 2019. But then this is the £200million research vessel that the British public want to call Boaty McBoatface. Read more…



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Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.