Professor Mayching KAO
Honorary University Fellow (2015)
Professor Mayching Kao was born to an art connoisseur family, and at an early age developed a profound interest in fine arts and Chinese painting. Professor Kao studied first at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts in 1967. Her performance as an undergraduate earned her a New Asia College Yale-China Scholarship: this enabled Professor Kao to pursue postgraduate studies in the US, leading to her Master’s in Western Art History from The University of New Mexico in 1969. She then achieved a PhD in Asian Art History at Stanford University in 1972.
After returning to the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), in its Department of Fine Arts, Professor Kao served twice as its Chairperson. Starting in 1981, she also was the visionary Curator, and then Director, of the Art Museum of the Institute of Chinese Studies at CUHK. Professor Kao was in fact a pioneering leader in developing the discipline of art history as an educational specialization at CUHK, setting up its highly respected MPhil and PhD programmes. She also initiated a series of exchanges with museums, university scholars and artists in Mainland China.
In recognition of her tremendous contributions to the art arena at large, Professor Kao was awarded, among her numerous other honours, the Dr Ip Yee Memorial Medal by The Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong in 1997, and she was bestowed upon the Achievement Award (Visual Arts) by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council in 1998.
In 1999, Professor Kao retired from CUHK as Chair Professor of Fine Arts and Director of Art Museum. She then joined the Open University of Hong Kong as the Dean of School of Arts and Social Sciences. She held that position until 2003, before retiring from academia.
Professor Kao is renowned for her exemplary scholarly works in Art History and Chinese Art. Her research interests span many different areas, including Chinese art history with emphasis on 20th-century Chinese paintings, modern art, Sino-Japanese and Sino-Western artistic exchanges, as well as art education. Consequently, Professor Kao has published and edited extensively in academic journals, notably her inspiring and influential work on the Lingnan School of Painting.
Despite her retirement, Professor Kao remains extremely active in promoting visual arts and lifelong education. Professor Kao is often invited to share with art and culture enthusiasts her wealth of knowledge and insights. She has also made generous donations to various universities by setting up scholarships. She remains especially active in the Hong Kong art community and often provides consultancy and advisory services to the HKSAR Government and other organisations. To name but one role among many, Professor Kao is Museum Expert Advisor for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the HKSAR: she thereby advises especially the Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Heritage Museum on future exhibitions, acquisitions and special events.
Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) is a particular beneficiary of Professor Kao’s expertise, insight and energy. In 2007, she became closely involved in the new Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre: this artist village project was spearheaded by our University, in partnership with the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the Hong Kong Arts Centre. The project is the first of its kind in Hong Kong. Professor Kao serves as Chairperson of the Centre’s Management Committee and is a member of its Governing Board.
In addition, Professor Kao was a Member of the Advisory Committee of our University’s Academy of Visual Arts (AVA). An ardent supporter of the Academy, Professor Kao indeed continues to provide her support to HKBU and AVA.
Professor Kao is nominated for the award of Honorary University Fellowship in recognition of her remarkable contributions to higher education as an educator and a leader, for her world-renowned research achievements in Art History and Chinese Art, and for her life-long commitment to promoting the advancement of fine arts in Hong Kong.