Innovation Through Tradition takes a comparative look at ink painting, miniature, and calligraphy through a public talk and private two-day workshop. Citing Chinese, Indo-Persian, and Arabic influences, international scholars, curators, researchers, and artists consider the ongoing impact these disciplines have on contemporary modes of creative expression.

Participants share their wide-ranging perspectives in an effort to challenge prevailing narratives including Euro-American art historical accounts that frame these practices through the lens of 'tradition'. Using broader cultural references spanning geography, time, space, and media, 'tradition' is instead coupled with 'innovation', both hinging on direct engagement through the past, and not by its rejection.

How these vigorous, variable, and pervasive practices offer an opportunity to rethink the possibilities for exhibitions, publications, and writing is also explored, along with speculations on how to build alternate frameworks to reinterpret and re-imagine prevailing histories of art. 

Innovation Through Tradition inaugurates an intermittent series of private workshops and related public programmes. Conceived as a way to encourage academic, curatorial, and artistic engagement, these programmes seek to identify issues, develop research strands, and explore ways to catalyse new thinking to contribute to a richer discourse around recent art of Asia.


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22 July 2014 Programme

Session I: Lunchtime Talk

Reading Art in Literature of the Arab World

Salwa Mikdadi, Visiting Associate Professor of Art History, New York University Abu Dhabi


Session II

Calligraphy, Ink, and Miniature

Iftikhar Dadi, AAA Resident; Chair, Department of Art (2010-2014), and Associate Professor, Department of History of Art, Cornell University
Hammad Nasar, AAA Head of Research & Programmes 
Martina Koppel-Yang, Art Historian and Curator 
Henry Au-yeung, Founder and Director, Grotto Fine Art 

23 July 2014 Programme

Session III

Practicing Tradition

Johnson Chang, AAA Co-Founder & Advisory Board member; Director, Hanart TZ Gallery 
Hung Fai, Vito, Artist


Session IV

Modernity and the Nation

Lesley Ma, Curator of Ink Art, M+, West Kowloon Cultural District; Managing Editor, Para/Site

Session V

Public Economy, Cultural Diplomacy, and Institutional Imperatives

Jane DeBevoise, AAA Chair of the Board of Directors, Hong Kong/New York
Savita Apte, Art Historian

Supported by Spring Workshop


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