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12 Ladies On Top of Asia’s Creative Scene
The women you need to know about
Fempire 05 Apr 2021


Asia has fast become one of the art world’s greatest hot-spots. As it embraces technology and generates a new era of super artists, there are a number of women ruling the creative scene on the continent. Want to know who they are? Read on!

Cao Fei @cao_fei

Cao Fei’s artwork examines the daily lives of Chinese citizens born after the Cultural Revolution, exploring internet culture and the borders between dreams and reality. Known for her films and interest in virtual reality, she even developed her own virtual city called RMB City. Her work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. 

Talenia Phua Gajardo @_talenia


Talenia Phua Gajardo is the founder of The Artling, an art consultancy and online gallery focused on highlighting the best of contemporary art and design which is headquartered in Singapore. With an architectural background, she previously founded her own interior architecture and design practice which she started after working for Zaha Hadid Architects for several years in London. With a focus on how technology can benefit the art world, Phua Gajardo and The Artling aim to improve buyer and seller experiences, increase trust and transparency, and build social capital. 

Kylie Ying @kylieyingxoxo

Art collector Kylie Ying is also the co-founder of ART021, a contemporary art fair based in Shanghai. Passionate about promoting contemporary art in China, Ying is also the founder of Jing Art, a contemporary art fair based in Beijing. In addition, Ying spearheaded the campaign Young Artist Of The Year in 2017, generating corporate sponsorship and media attention for young Chinese artists. Known for her art collection, Ying’s pieces have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale and the New York Museum. She has also donated works to the Centre Pompidou in Paris. 

Chomwan Weeraworawit @chomchomw

Based between Bangkok and New York City, Chomwan Weeraworawit has a PhD in law, but made her mark after founding creative consultancy Mysterious Ordinary in 2010. She’s worked with dozens of big names, including a certain Tilda Swinton. In 2014 she co-founded lifestyle brand Philip Huang NYC, working closely with artisans in Thailand to create clothes that merge artisanal know-how with advancements in technology.

Elle Icon Lee @elleiconlee

Chinese style blogger Elle Icon Lee is a huge influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, and even more on Weibo. Born in Shanghai, raised in London and now living in Hong Kong, the ex-fashion model has a charming and unique way of bringing international topics to her readers.

Leslie Sun @sunles

Editor-in-chief of Vogue Taiwan, Leslie Sun is also a big art collector. In fact, she was also the founder and director of SUNSET shop and SUNSET PROJECTS, a lifestyle space in Taipei. While her work and interests cross art and fashion, Sun is known for her art collection, which has a focus on Western contemporary art. Her collection includes works by Richard Serra, Eddie Peake and Colin Roberts. 

Wendy Yu @wendyyu_official

Chinese heiress Wendy Yu is well known for her patronage of the arts. The founder of Yu Holdings focuses on investing in emerging businesses in fashion, lifestyle and technology. In 2018 Forbes China listed Yu as one of their “30 Under 30” in the field of Art and Fashion. As well as being a patron of dozens of institutions including the Victoria and Albert Museum and London’s National Portrait Gallery, Yu also endowed the position of the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018. And to top it all off, she was the first Asian contributor to Vogue.

Luo Yang @luoyangggg

Photographer Luo Yang works only with film. Famous for her real depictions of women, she has exhibited widely and in 2018 was listed as one of BBC’s 100 Women. She is best-known for her series GIRLS, which focuses on Chinese women born in the 1980s. She subsequently worked on Youth, which captured Chinese women born in the 1990s.

Guan Xiao @guanxiaoisme

Guan Xiao’s artwork utilises technology to juxtapose past and future. Her work considers diverse cultures, putting together objects from different regions and eras, challenging the viewer to make sense of them. Working in both video and sculpture, she has exhibited widely including at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art.

Yan Xiaojing @xiaojing.yan.studio

Yan Xiaojing is a first-generation Chinese-Canadian, whose immigrant experience pushes through her artwork, becoming a bi-cultural lens of the natural world balancing between two cultures. Her work uses natural materials that also emanate religious, mythological and cultural connotations, reinventing them in a contemporary aesthetic. Her work has been exhibited across the globe.

Shalini Passi, Patron, Philanthropist, Artist and Collector @shalini.passi

Delhi-based Shalini Passi is an arts patron, philanthropist, artist and art and design collector. Her collection includes works by major contemporary Indian artists as well as international giants Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. She has also been working to educate underprivileged children in Delhi, providing them with opportunities to learn about arts and crafts. In addition to all that, she started her own foundation – The Shalini Passi Art Foundation – in 2018, which explores the intersection of the arts and promotes emerging artists in India. 

Pixy Liao, Artist and Musician @bloodypixy

Shanghai-born Pixy Liao is an artist who has won several awards and fellowships, particularly for photography. Now based in New York, she became famous after publishing her first book Experimental Relationship Vol.1, which documents her relationship with her boyfriend Moro. Known for her depictions of gender, sex and power dynamics, her work has been exhibited everywhere from Recontres d’Arles and National Gallery of Australia, to the Museum of Sex and UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing.  

Text Lizzy Vartanian

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