Kurt Tong: Double Book Launch. Thu 01 Aug, 18.00 - 20.00

Please join us in the Bookshop and meet photographer Kurt Tong who is presenting his 2 brand new publications: Combing for Ice and Jade, published by Jiazazhi, and The Queen, the Chairman and I co-published by Dewi Lewis Publishing / Lianzhou Museum of Photography.


Combing for Ice and Jade is a love note from Kurt Tong to his nanny, who was one of the last remaining ‘self combed’ women left in China. An early form of Feminism, the comb up ceremony granted women great autonomy at a great cost.

 Kurt has worked closely with his nanny over a period of nearly 7 years. Her story is slowly revealed through the book, combined with Kurt’s family archive, found photographs from her extended families, new photographs, Chinese ink works and women’s magazines from China that spanned 6 decades.

The Queen, The Chairman and I is a saga of love, hope, and tragedy: a storybook that both uncovers family secrets and reveals the impact of political and economic forces on individuals. It deals with themes of multiculturalism and migration, heritage and empire.



Kurt 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. His mother’s family were landlords in Southern China. By coming to Hong Kong, they almost certainly escaped death at the hands of Mao’s advancing Communist armies.



Kurt Tong himself grew up in Hong Kong, singing the British National Anthem throughout his school years. At the age of 13, he moved to the UK to continue his education, before finally returning to Hong Kong in 2012. Tong has traced the history of his family in a bid to find out how two of the most influential people in history, Queen Victoria and Chairman Mao, had affected them.




Thursday 01 Aug, 18.00 - 20.00, Bookshop.

Free event, no Booking.


Fake Flowers (2016), from the series Combing for Ice and Jade

People’s magazine (2017),  from the series Combing for Ice and Jade

Mak attending a wedding in her hometown (2011),  from the series Combing for Ice and Jade

Aberdeen (2009), from the series The Queen, The Chairman and I

Shook Ying’s Matching making photo, circa 1920, from the series The Queen, The Chairman and I

Victoria Peak (2011), from the series The Queen, The Chairman and I





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