Imagining asia through a tour of the orient: Cathay pacific’s contemporary art in asia exhibition of 1965

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


On April 22, 1965, Hong Kong’s signature airline, Cathay Pacific Airways, launched the multicity tour of an art exhibition—Contemporary Art in Asia—in Singapore. Consisting of about 130 pieces of artwork, the exhibition toured Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jesselton, Manila, Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Taipei before returning to Hong Kong. The exhibition was mounted as a commercial promotion for Cathay Pacific’s flight network in Asia, but it represents an instance of an Asia-wide art exhibition, something that was rare at that time. This paper situates the exhibition in a broad historical context. By examining city networks, Asian art, and representations of air hostesses from the perspective of Hong Kong, I argue that this corporate-sponsored “tour of the Orient” exhibition reveals diverse imaginations of Asia and its modernity beyond the Orient–Occident binaries of the 1960s.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-330
Number of pages23
JournalTwentieth-Century China
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • 1960s
  • Air hostess
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Contemporary art in Asia
  • Hong Kong
  • Visual culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations

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