Wesley Tongson

Online Panel Discussion Hosted by HKU and BAMPFA

Online Panel Discussion

"Wesley Tongson: Home and Away"

Date: 20 May, 9:30 Hong Kong Time / 19 May, 18:30 Pacific Time

Zoom ID: 252 505 2929

Passcode: 20220520

Organizer: University of Hong Kong

Partner: Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive


Wesley Tongson (1957-2012) was a Hong Kong artist who dedicated his career to exploring ink painting. His work draws heavily on traditional Chinese painting techniques and processes, including painting with his fingers and hands, but takes these step further to create a personal expression that is wholly his own. On the occasion of his current exhibition Spiritual Mountains: The Art of Wesley Tongson on view through June 12 at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at HKU invites scholars and the artist’s family member to walk us through the art practice and life journey of Wesley Tongson in Hong Kong, North America, and beyond.



Wesley Tongson’s Techniques in Ink Paintings, by Dr. Yi Yi Mon (Rosaline) Kyo

Dr. Kyo will be examining the modern and contemporary ink art techniques, including those of Zhang Daqian and Liu Guosong, that greatly impacted Wesley Tongson's own artistic experimentation and the different approaches that Tongson developed throughout his career. She will explore the innovative techniques that Tongson used, including the use of stamps, ink resists, and finger painting to transfer the landscapes he envisioned in his mind onto the papers.


Spirit, Idea, and Landscape: The Innovative Tradition of Wesley Tongson, by Dr. Roz Hammers

The mountain in traditional Chinese culture may deign to confer supreme status to an emperor. Conversely it could serve as a place or landscape of refuge for individuals who seek retreat from the burdens of society. In this talk, the art of Wesley Tongson presently on display at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is considered as a continuation of traditional associations of landscape and mountains. Dr. Hammers argues that Tongson seeks to engage with contemporary artistic practices of modernity while drawing out ideas of spirituality and individual expression to challenge and revitalize tradition to make his art highly innovative and deeply personal.



Dr. Yi Yi Mon (Rosaline) Kyo received her doctoral degree in the History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in modern and contemporary Chinese art. After graduating, she was the Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Postdoctoral Fellow, working closely with the Senior Curator of Asian Art at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, curating exhibitions on Buddhist Art, Contemporary Buddhist Arts, and pre-modern Chinese painting. Currently, she is an assistant professor of Art History and Chinese Studies at Davidson College. She was a curatorial consultant for the current Wesley Tongson exhibition, Spiritual Mountains at BAMPFA, and authored an article on Wesley Tongon's paintings published in the January/February issue of Orientations.


Dr. Roz Hammers is an associate Professor of Art History at the University of Hong Kong, conducts research on the history of Chinese art and art theory. Her first book Pictures of Tilling and Weaving: Art, Labor and Technology in Song and Yuan China (Hong Kong University Press, 2011) received the College Art Association’s Millard Meiss prize. Her second book The Imperial Patronage of Labor Genre Paintings in Eighteenth-Century China was published by Routledge Press in 2021.


Guest Panelist

Ms. Cynthia Tongson is the guardian of and advocate for the legacy of her late brother, Hong Kong artist Wesley Tongson. She is a supporter of the Asian Art Archive in America and Asian Cultural Council (Hong Kong), and she currently serves on the boards of the Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco and Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive.



Ms. Anqi Li is a PhD student at American Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, the University of Hong Kong. She was most recently the Curator of Education and Public Programs at Para Site. Li holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from San Francisco Art Institute and a Master of Education degree in Arts in Education (AIE) from Harvard University.


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May 16, 2022
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