Grace Lau Portraits In a Chinese Studio

Grace Lau, 21st Century Types, 2024. Courtesy the artist

After Southampton, London and Eastbourne, artist Grace Lau takes her Portraits In a Chinese Studio to St Leonards-on-Sea this May, in partnership with Solaris Print!

Solaris Print, 76 Norman Road
St Leonards-on-Sea, TN38 0EJ
Open Wednesday to Friday, 1–5pm & Saturday, 11am–5pm

Drop in or book your photo here

Portraits In a Chinese Studio is based on the artist’s research into studio portraits made by 19th-century and early 20th-century Western photographers in China. She realised that Chinese subjects were placed in a Victorian studio setting as ‘exotic subjects’ and ‘unusual beings’. Lau’s project highlights this relationship and reverses the roles for 21st-century participants.

Lau’s photographic studio will be made of ‘mock’ traditional Chinese furniture, with a decorative backdrop and accessories including a soft-toy panda rug. Participants will be asked to pose in a similar formal manner to the Victorian studio portraits. However, in contrast to their historical setting, those having their portraits taken will be encouraged to keep their contemporary accessories, such as mobile phones, shopping bags, and clothing.

This project is presented by John Hansard Gallery as part of our Co-Creating Public Space programme, a two-year nationally significant initiative that explores thoughts around creativity and public space in relation to gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age, ability, access, health, and wellbeing. Co-Creating Public Space is supported by Arts Council England, Southampton City Council, University of Southampton and GO! Southampton.

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