Women in the Arts


Panel Discussion with Light Lunch with Lalla Essaydi, Artist, Davina Lee, Curator, Melissa Lee, Public Art Curator and Consultant, Nancy Tong, Documentary Filmmaker, Joanna Lee, Founder of Museworks (Moderator)

Registration at 12:15pm
Discussion at 12:45pm
Close at 1:45pm

In 1971, art historian Linda Nochlin wrote an essay whose title posed a question that would pioneer an entirely new branch of art history. The essay — "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" — explored possible reasons why "greatness" in artistic accomplishment was only within the purview of the male gender. Nochlin argues that social predilections and education systematically precluded the emergence of great women artists. Now over 40 years since Nochlin’s ground-breaking statement, how have women in the arts challenged the status quo? Do women still experience a subliminal gender bias? Is there a glass ceiling within the arts establishment for women? Are the challenges of the 21st century any different than those in the past? Panelists will consider what it is to be a woman and work in the arts today.

Lalla Essaydi is an artist who grew up in Morocco, lived in Saudi Arabia and although she was educated in Europe and the United States, her experience of traditional Islamic life was fundamental in shaping her. Essaydi has more recently devoted herself to creating sumptuous explorations of the image of woman in Islamic society.  Her work is included in major institutional collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Fries Museum; the Kodak Museum of Art; and the Louvre.  Lalla recently was the subject of a major retrospective at the Smithsonian African Museum of Art (Washington DC) and during March her exhibition Les Femmes du Magreb opens at the Orientalist Museum in Qatar.

Davina Lee is an independent curator, writer and intellectual property lawyer at international law firm Hogan Lovells.  A graduate of Goldsmiths' College, Lee also holds master’s degrees from London University School of Oriental and African Studies and Sotheby's Institute of Art and is a specialist in the history of photography. Davina founded Diorama Projects in Hong Kong in 2008, an independent arts organization presenting groundbreaking work from new and established artists. At the core of each project is the desire to engage audiences at all levels, from passive observation to active critical debate. As a writer, Davina’s articles on art and culture have been published in magazines such as Vogue China, Hong Kong Tatler, the Journal of the Royal Photographic Society and Monocle.

Melissa Lee lectures at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on visual art and diasporic literature. She is a public art curator, consultant, and has worked on numerous projects in Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, and Canada. She is the founder of the "Fairytale Project," an online research archive investigating the lives and experiences of the 1001 Chinese participants that toured Kassel Germany's Documenta (2007) as part of Ai Weiwei's public art project "Fairytale." She is also the interdisciplinary chair of the academic organization Association of the Arts of the Present (ASAP) bringing together recognized scholars and creative artists together to discuss the latest developments in the literary, visual and performing arts.

Nancy Tong has been producing documentaries since 1980. She has collaborated on many award-winning projects, including Who Killed Vincent Chin (Associate Producer), which was nominated for an Academy Award; In the Name of the Emperor (Producer and co-Director), which won the Special Jury Prize at the San Francisco International Film Festival; and Cancer: From Evolution to Revolution (Line Producer), which won a George Foster Peabody Award.  She also line-produced several Hong Kong feature films that were shot in New York City - An Autumn's Tale (秋天的童話) and Full Moon in New York (人在紐約).  Since 1999 she has been teaching documentary film production in Hong Kong, China, Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia.  She is currently Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Hong Kong.  

Joanna Lee is the founder of Museworks Limited, and has consulted for such large-scale arts festivals as Kennedy Center’s Festival of China (2005), Carnegie Hall’s “Ancient Paths, Modern Voices” China Festival (2009), as well as developing new works such as The Bonesetter’s Daughter (San Francisco Opera, 2008) and Chinglish (Broadway, 2011). Recently, she has also been active in handling Asian tour publicity for major American orchestras—San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (moderator)

Co-organized with:


Event Details

Fri 08 Mar 2013
12:15 PM - 1:45 PM
9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Buy Tickets
HK$180 Asia Society members; HK$230 Non-members; On-line registration only
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