About the book

This collection of profiles celebrates the artistic achievements of sixteen visionary women from a region of surprisingly diverse cultures despite their geographical proximity. From literary figures like Nieh Hualing and dance icons like Yang Meiqi, to bold contemporary artists Yin Xiuzhen and Lulu Hou, their creativity covers a wide range of literary, visual and performing arts. These courageous women often had to defy cultural expectations in order to heed their artistic drive. Their artworks delve into the social realities of their times, and their personal stories provide an intimate portrait of the historical trajectory of Greater China over three generations. Written by journalists and scholars with deep knowledge of the arts in Asia, and richly illustrated with images of art and historical events, the collection reveals the vibrance of women’s art in the region.

The profiled artists:

• Nieh Hualing 聶華苓, author
• Liao Wen 廖雯, art critic and curator
• Candace Chong 莊梅岩, playwright
• Yin Xiuzhen 尹秀珍, visual artist
• Choi Yan Chi 蔡仞姿 , artist and educator
• Lulu Hou 侯淑姿 , photographic artist
• Jaffa Lam 林嵐 , installation artist
• Yang Lina 楊荔鈉 , filmmaker
• Bun-Ching Lam 林品晶, composer
• Wang Xinxin 王心心, Nanguan performer
• Tian Mansha 田蔓莎, Sichuan Opera performer
• Wu Na 巫娜, guqin musician

• Yang Meiqi 楊美琦, modern dance pioneer
• Pisui Ciyo 碧斯蔚.梓佑, dancer/choreographer/vocalist
• Mui Cheuk Yin 梅卓燕, dancer/choreographer
• Wen Hui 文慧, dancer/choreographer

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Praise for Creating Across Cultures

  • Creating Across Cultures: Women in the Arts from China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan is an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to understand the dynamism underpinning what some are calling the Chinese Century. In these portraits of sixteen extraordinary women, whose achievements in art, dance, literature, music, and theater have profoundly shaped contemporary aesthetic, cultural, and social discourses, we glimpse worlds upon worlds, any one of which may change the very ways in which we make meaning of our time on earth. This is a treasure.

    Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa and author of Self-Portrait with Dogwood
  • Is there ‘something unexplained about women that only a woman can explain’ (to rephrase Georgia O’Keeffe’s statement into a question)? Under its chief editor, also a woman—Michelle Vosper, who was Director of the Hong Kong Arts Program at the Asian Cultural Council for 25 years—Creating Across Cultures explains it vividly and movingly. I find the life stories of these artists as fascinating as their ebullient creations. In particular, Vosper has done a most remarkable and touching portrait of the source of inspiration for them all—the inimitable Nieh Hualing.

    Leo Ou-fan Lee, The Sin Wai Kin Professor of Chinese Culture at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and author of Shanghai Modern: The Flowering of a New Urban Culture in China, 1930–1945
  • My heart is so full of joy reading this book. Creating Across Cultures is the result of many years of meticulous research, and it comprehensively documents the achievements of female aesthetics through the work of these important artists. The writing is also about real lives, their loves and struggles. Readers will connect with concrete life experiences that no abstract theories should replace.

    Eva K. W. Man, author of Bodies in China: Philosophy, Aesthetics, Gender and Politics

From the introduction

The ability to bounce back is a universal element in these stories. Sichuan opera performer Tian Mansha, for example, entered her chosen field as a latecomer and suffered one rejection after another before finding her own way. She never viewed these setbacks as reasons to give up.

Read on

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About the editor

Dorothy Tse portrait

Editor Michelle Vosper directed the work of 11 outstanding cultural journalists and Asia scholars to create the book's 16 profiles. Michelle spent 25 years as the Asian Cultural Council Representative in Hong Kong, overseeing an extensive program of fellowships for leading Asian artists to pursue advanced training, research and creative work in the United States. She is now an independent writer and editor specializing in Asian arts and culture, and lives on a farm in rural New Jersey with her family.

More about Michelle Vosper