Impressions Gallery opened in 1972 as one of the first specialist contemporary photography galleries in Europe. Since then we have established ourselves as a leading international exhibition space for photography and digital art. We support and promote innovative and creative work that extends the boundaries of current photographic practice. Digital imagery, film and video are essential resources for the contemporary artist, and this is reflected in our programme. We are a small not-for-profit organisation who are dedicated towards providing the local community and our wider international audiences the very best of contemporary photography and digital media.
Tuesday - 10am to 6pm
Wednesday - 10am to 6pm
Thursday - 10am to 6pm
Friday - 10am to 5pm
Saturday - 10pm to 5pm
Sunday - Closed
Mondays - Closed
Booking advised for group visits. Please call 0845 0515 882 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kurt Tong: The Queen, The Chairman and I
- 16 December 2016 — 18 March 2017 *on now
Described by Tong as a photographic ‘who do you think you are’, The Queen, The Chairman and I was made over four years across three continents. In this multi-stranded saga of love, hope, and tragedy, Tong uncovers family secrets and reveals the impact of political and economic forces on individual people. Drawing on Tong’s Chinese, Hong Kong and British connections, the exhibition combines new large-scale photographs, alongside heirloom photographs and rare colour film footage from the 1940s. Central to the exhibition is a contemporary Chinese teahouse installation where visitors are invited to drink tea, read Tong’s artist book, and share their own family stories.
Tong’s paternal grandfather was a deckhand who arrived in Hong Kong from Shanghai after the fall of the last imperial Chinese dynasty in 1911, lured by better job prospects in the relatively stable British colony. His mother’s family were landlords in Southern China, Tong believes that they ‘came to Hong Kong and probably escaped certain death at the hands of Mao’s advancing Communist armies.’
Tong grew up in Hong Kong, singing the British National Anthem throughout his school years. He came to the UK to continue his education only returning to Hong Kong in 2012.
Tong says, ‘I traced the history of my family in a bid to find out how two of the most influential people in history, Queen Victoria and Chairman Mao, affected my family. Giving equal importance to new photographs, found photographs and writing, this project reconnects me with the Hong Kong of the past, through the recollections of my extended family, humanising the political and social upheaval that took my family to Hong Kong and eventually to the United Kingdom.’
Taken as a whole, The Queen, The Chairman and I connects with themes of multiculturalism and migration, heritage and empire. This will be the first time the project has been shown in its entirety and will coincide with Chinese New Year on 28 January 2017.
This exhibition is part of Views from China, a special six month programme of exhibitions and events at Impressions, taking a fresh look at Chinese culture and the long standing links between the UK and China.
An Impressions Gallery touring exhibition curated by Anne McNeill.
- Any age
Views from China: A Special Season of Photography at Impressions
- 16 December 2016 — 24 June 2017 *on now
It’s the most populous country on the planet, and predicted to soon become the world’s biggest economy. Despite being geographically distant, China and the UK have centuries-old relations, from a mutual national obsession with tea, to a shared history with Hong Kong, and today’s big business investments. Yet contemporary China remains, to many, unfamiliar territory. Views From China at Impressions Gallery offers a chance to get up close to Chinese culture, with specially-commissioned exhibitions by the new rising stars of photography, a contemporary Chinese tea house, talks, workshops and tea ceremonies.
The first exhibition of the season, The Queen, The Chairman and I by Kurt Tong, 16 December 2016 to 18 March 2017 draws on the artist’s Chinese, Hong Kong and British family history. Described by Tong as a photographic ‘who do you think you are’, his multi-stranded saga of love and tragedy uncovers family secrets and reveals the impact of the British Empire and Chinese Communism – embodied by Queen Victoria and Chairman Mao of the title – on the lives of individuals. The show combines new and heirloom photographs, rare colour film footage from early 1940s Hong Kong and a contemporary Chinese teahouse where visitors are invited to drink tea and share their family stories. Held to coincide with the twenty-year anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty from British rule, and to celebrate Chinese New Year on 28 January, the show offers a timely reflection on the themes of multiculturalism and migration.
The second exhibition of the season, Mother River by Yan Wang Preston, 31 March to 24 June 2017, is a photographic odyssey that takes the viewer on a journey along the entire length of the Yangtze, often known as China’s Mother River. The epic project follows a simple premise: to document the 6,211km route of the river from source to delta, using a strict Y Point System to photograph every 100 kilometres. Made over a period of four years, Yan Wang Preston travelled to the remote high Tibetan Plateau through the Three Gorges to the river’s end at Shanghai. The resulting exhibition, specially commissioned in partnership with Gallery of Photography Ireland, is an insightful look at the inner life of China, where traditional landscape clashes with present-day development.
An accompanying events programme offers visitors the chance to find out more and have a taste of Chinese culture. Kurt Tong, making a special trip from his home city of Hong Kong, and Yan Wang Preston, a native of China’s Henan Province, will be sharing their stories and experiences through a series of artist talks and workshops for photographers. A programme of cultural events, run in partnership with The Business Confucius Institute at University of Leeds, will enable visitors to try their hand at traditional crafts including Chinese lantern-making and Chinese kite-painting. A particular highlight will be the regular tea ceremonies held in the contemporary Chinese teahouse. Making a British cuppa might seem very simple, but in China the perfect cup of tea requires a number of intricate steps. Visitors will learn about the background of this thousand-year old tradition, before taking part in a tea ceremony, tasting authentic teas, and even having a go themselves.
The season runs from 16 December 2016 to 24 June 2017.
Kurt Tong’s contemporary Chinese teahouse and the Chinese cultural events programme are sponsored by The Business Confucius Institute at University of Leeds.
- Any age
Learning & Audience Development Co-ordinator (Contact for Group Visits)