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Chronology is our mental scaffolding for organizing historical reasoning. It provides us with a strong sense of the continuity and incidences of time – of when things happened – in order to understand historical causality. The Hong Kong Art History (HKAH) Timeline project is the first to provide a temporal map tracing events from the 1930s to the present. It includes relevant social and political events that have shaped the art world including the making of museums, government policies and shifts in financial or educational sectors. We aim to show how time is always in action, whether in linear directions or alternative patterns where time pauses, reflects or return. This project currently has over 400 entries and an ambition to grow in the future with contributions from our students and friends of the Department of Art History at HKU.

This project was part of the Hong Kong Art Workshop, a HKU class in collaboration with Asia Art Archive (AAA). This project was also led by Michelle Wong from AAA, Yi Ting Lee and Nicole Nepomuceno. Technical support was provided by TELI and Daryl Bakhuis. 

Dr Yeewan Koon

Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art History, The University of Hong Kong
Supervisor of the Hong Kong Art Timeline Project

Principle Timeline 

Hong Kong art history from 1930s to the present.


Thematic explorations of Hong Kong art history

from Artists

Mapping the
Pedagogical Approaches
of Four Artist Educators in
Hong Kong

by Crystal Li &
Ruby Weatherall

See Satellite

Movement &

Mapping 3 Women Artists in
Hong Kong's Art Circle

by Yi Ting Lee

See Satellite

Politics of Space

Artist-run Spaces and
Pop-up Art Events
from the mid-80s onwards

by Lok Wong

See Satellite

Art, Migration & Representation

Mapping Ethnic Minority
Migration and Exhibitions
in Hong Kong, 1933–2020

by Nicole Martin Nepomuceno

See Satellite


We acknowledge, however, that our Principal Timeline provides an overview that excludes more than it includes. Moreover, with linear timelines there is also the assumption of advances and progress, but developments can also take the shape of departures and loss. It is with the understanding of this, that we have also launched smaller “satellite” timeline research projects. These are case studies by students from the Hong Kong Art Workshop class. They explore the inconsistencies, overlaps and disruptions to speak about issues such as independent art spaces in relationship to activism, women artists as institutional builders, the presence (and absence) of minorities in Hong Kong’s art world, the development of art criticism and the relationship between grassroot art education practices and local knowledge. The aim of these smaller projects is to build different thresholds from which others may discover new ideas for future research. They also operate as standalone projects that collectively help to form the moving parts of a history of Hong Kong art.

The satellite timeline projects are supported by Kwai Fung Hing Art Foundation. 

Dr Yeewan Koon