Exhibition Review: Kurt Tong – The Queen, The Chairman & I

When: 18th May – 24th August 2013

Where: Victoria Gallery and Museum, Brownlow Hill


Kurt Tong’s ‘The Queen, the Chairman and I’ is the VGM’s offering for the Look 13 Festival.

The exhibition covers the two galleries 6 and 7 on the first floor. The exhibition is an exploration of family and the discoveries that you make when you feel there is a distance between you and them.

Kurt Tong decided to investigate his family when becoming a father he realised that he wasn’t equipped to answer the questions that his child may bring up about their heritage, history and culture. So his research began.

The exhibition is a culmination of family photos, objects, words and tea. As you walk into gallery 6 you will see large prints of inanimate objects, with original family photos pinned between (after all the posts I’ve written about care for photos, I must admit this made me wince a bit!) then a few cases holding a family album and a few other family heirlooms.

I loved the layout of this exhibition it was very well executed, it struck me that the inanimate objects evoked specific memories such as the photograph of an imprint in a carpet – the imprint was that of a piano and lent itself to a story of a child finding their piano lessons torturous (there is more to the story, but you’ll have to visit the exhibition in order to find out). The family photographs evoked emotions, yes, there is the memory of that moment, however, if there are only a few images of a family member then we tend to have a lot more memories bubble to the surface in quick succession without any hesitation.

I found the exhibition to be thought provoking and as I trace my family tree very current to my thoughts. The exhibition also had another strand for me, as a child I lived in Hong Kong and it was good to see in those photographs the Hong Kong I knew and loved. Although it has been 25 years since I landed there, I still consider Hong Kong to be my second home outside of Liverpool. Both of which are inextricably linked through the history they have endured.  I enjoyed this exhibition immensely and hope that you will find time in the next week to visit it. If you go around lunchtime traditional Chinese tea is served, and to round off your visit, you may even want to have a game or two

Kurt Tong is running another project alongside this exhibition. He would like viewers to send him a family photograph and a story to share@kurttong.co.uk he will then share your story through www.blankfamilyalbum.com

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