Xiaowen Zhu has been named as the new Director of the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA). As a filmmaker, author, and lecturer, Zhu has worked in Shanghai, New York, Los Angeles, London, and Berlin. She has curated a number of contemporary art shows, with a focus on non-profit organizations and introducing marginalized artistic forms from Asia to Europe and beyond.
Formerly assistant director at Times Art Center Berlin, Zhu led institutional projects including the solo exhibition Earwax (2022) by Wong Ping, curated by Hou Hanru, the group exhibition Más Allá, el Mar Canta: Diasporic Intimacies and Labour (2021), curated by Pablo José Ramírez, and Neither Black / Red / Yellow Nor Woman (2019–20), curated by Nikita Yingqian Cai and Xiaoyu Weng. She has also organised exhibitions, public programmes and publications with artists including Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Jane Jin Kaisen, Christine Sun Kim, Ho Tzu Nyen, Koki Tanaka, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Shen Xin, Thao Nguyen Phan, Ming Wong and Zhou Tao.
For almost 30 years, the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, based in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, has sponsored art and artists of Chinese, East, and Southeast Asian background. Patty Chang, Gordon Cheung, Xu Bing, Chen Chieh-jen, Cao Fei, Chen Man, Yang Zhichao, He Chengyao, Samson Young, Charwei Tsai, and Sun Xun have all had work shown at the gallery.
Since the implementation of Covid-19 restrictions in March 2020, the CFCCA’s galleries have been closed to the public and will return later this year.
Philomena Chen, Simon Li, Yung Ma, aaajiao (aka Xu Wenkai), and Bonnie Yeung have also joined the CFCCA Board of Directors. Ella Luo has been named the organization’s first Community Development and Engagement Manager, while Huina Zhang has been named its new Chief Operating Officer.
These important appointments come at a time when CFCCA is re-evaluating its mission and working to embed collective and long-term change in order to better serve its communities, including increasing the representation of people with lived experience of Chinese and East Asian heritage and culture within the organization.
CFCCA will strive to broaden its reach in the art world and across society under Xiaowen Zhu’s leadership through a reimagined, transcultural program and a reactivated, dynamic research framework, interconnecting the institution’s past and present missions and exploring what CFCCA can become as a 21st-century arts organization.
Xiaowen Zhu said: “I’m thrilled to join and lead CFCCA, a 36-year-old British contemporary art institution that has created a legacy of supporting artists and cultural practitioners from East Asia and all over the world. Located in the heart of Manchester, a city known not only for its significance of manufacture and transport since the Industrial Revolution but also for its celebrated music, literature and art scene, CFCCA provides a public space of engagement, enrichment and experimentation for local, national and international communities. I can’t wait to work closely with the board to set our goals for the coming years and to form a new team that’s at once committed to our mission and creative in thinking and making things happen.”
Nick Buckley Wood, Chair of CFCCA’s Board of Trustees said: “We are delighted that Xiaowen is joining as Director and will lead the revitalisation of our space in Manchester and the widening of the institution’s national and international footprint. Alongside our refreshed Board and growing team, we look forward to seeing the institution enter the next stage of its development with a focus on relevance, diversity, digitalisation, sustainability, cross-cultural dialogue and, most importantly, great exhibitions for the public.”
The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) is a non-profit art organization dedicated to showcasing and supporting contemporary art practices from China, East Asia, and Southeast Asia (CEASA). CFCCA has been delivering diverse and dynamic public programs, including exhibitions, events, residencies, research, and other types of community involvement and collaboration initiatives, for over 36 years, from an award-winning building in the center of Manchester. Through forward-thinking visual arts programs that increase the visibility of underrepresented artistic practices from the diasporic CEASA community and enrich the lives and cultures of local and global audiences, CFCCA aims to foster cross-cultural exchanges between Manchester, the UK, and the rest of the world. Creativity, compassion, connectivity, and collectivity are the qualities that underpin our working vision and mission.
An independent audit commissioned by the CFCCA Board of Directors in August 2021 produced a roadmap to address long-standing concerns with organizational management, diversity, inclusion, and equality. Since the report’s release, the Interim Executive Director and the Board have implemented new internal rules and procedures, as well as recruitment, to expand the organization’s representation of people with lived experience of Chinese and East Asian ancestry and culture.
Thomas Street, Northern Quarter
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