A museum of hybridity: The history of the display of art in the public museum of Hong Kong, and its implications for cultural identities

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This essay demonstrates the ways in which the official Museum of Art in Hong Kong realizes its strategies and influences of identity formation by using its resources and representative position in both colonial and postcolonial spaces. I argue that there are ever-changing "internal" battles of cultural identities, and the official museum has been playing a significant role in some of the cultural and political antagonisms involved. Through a historical survey and investigation of some displays of art there, the essay shows how the museum incorporates the concept of cultural identity, challenges its stability and hegemony, and reformulates its meaning and content. The essay also argues for a subtle form of cultural policy, other than the publicized version, manifested in the birth and evolution of the local public art museum as an institution. The study points out that the official museum offers a variety of perspectives on hybrid discourses and the politics of identity in material forms. It is a practice of hybridity that calls attention to disjunctions and conjunctions, in the form of its development, organization, design and art display. It points out that the museum's permanent collection of Chinese traditional art, together with special exhibits of Western masterpieces, are demonstrating how hybridity, in Bakhtin's sense of a mixture of social languages within the limits of a single utterance or an encounter between two different linguistic consciousnesses, is represented in the Museum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-105
Number of pages16
JournalVisual Anthropology
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology

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