A new ink art curator for Hong Kong’s M+ Museum: Taiwan’s first daughter

Lesley Ma, daughter of Taiwanese President Ma Yong-jeou, has joined Hong Kong’s M+ Museum as curator of contemporary Chinese ink.

Taiwan’s “first daughter” Lesley Ma took up the post of curator of ink art at M+ on Tuesday 8 October, adding to the complement of international and Hong Kong-based curators at the museum of twentieth and twenty-first century visual culture, which is slated to open in 2017.

Lesley Ma, seen here on the right, joined Hong Kong's M+ museum as ink curator in October 2013.

Lesley Ma, seen here on the right, joined Hong Kong’s M+ museum as ink curator in October 2013.

Ma, who was born in the United States and grew up in Taiwan, has a post-graduate degree in museum studies and from 2005 to 2009 worked for Cai Guoqiang, a Chinese contemporary artist known for his large-scale gunpowder works.

As curator for ink art, a part-time position, Ma “will be responsible for the development of the museum’s ink art collection, exhibitions and other ink art programmes,” Wendy Lam, head of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority‘s communication and public affairs department, told the China Post.

Ma, who has been based in Hong Kong since early 2013, is something of a reluctant celebrity in Taiwan. After living what the South China Morning Post calls a “low-profile life” in the United States, the president’s daughter came under fire from Taiwanese media for reportedly keeping her 2012 marriage to a Hong Kong-based financier a secret. As first daughter Ma lives under “special protective measures” when outside Taiwan, claims the Taipei Times, but is still reported to be a frequent user of Hong Kong’s public transport system.

West Kowloon Cultural District from the air. Image courtesy Asia House.

West Kowloon Cultural District from the air. Image courtesy Asia House.

M+, which will formally open its doors in 2017, now has almost a full complement of curators, according to the South China Morning Post. Headed by South Korean Doryun Chong, who moved from New York’s MoMA to M+ in July 2013, the curatorial team now consists of curators for the primary areas of visual culture, such as contemporary art, ink art, architecture and design, but is yet as without a moving image curator.

With a policy of drawing half of the curatorial team from Hong Kong and the remainder from the international circuit, the museum aims to become, in Chong’s words from an August press release, “a truly global museum that is also locally rooted and contribute to making Hong Kong a great cultural hub.” According to The Wall Street Journal Blog, the museum, which is projected to cost USD709 million to build, will “highlight twentieth  and twenty-first century visual culture ‘from a Hong Kong perspective and with a global vision”.

M+ is the centre-piece of the West Kowloon Cultural District project, a collection of seventeen arts and cultural venues overlooking Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour and supported by the city’s Legislative Council.

Cassandra Naji

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Related Topics: Museumsrecruitmentwhat’s happening in Hong Kong

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