Lydia Chai

b. 1980

Born in Malaysia, Lydia Chai graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2004. She makes paintings, videos and more recently, music.

To Chai, painting and music are closely related; with her abstract watercolours she explores musicality and rhythm. In 2010, she formed the former Asian waiata group, Ngāti Āhia. In 2012, she exhibited video work in Running On Pebbles, curated by Allan Smith. In the same year, she began composing pop songs and released a music video on Vimeo for her single 'Move'. 

With three others, she runs the dynamic art group Parlour, organizing art events that have a strong emphasis on forging strong networks of support and camaraderie within the art community. In 2013 she spearheaded the Parlour Complaints Choir at the Auckland Arts Festival. She writes and reviews art occasionally and is based in Auckland.

Selected Exhibitions
Staging Miracles III, Square2, Wellington City Gallery, Wellington
Running on Pebbles, curated by Allan Smith, Snake Pit, Auckland
Staging Miracles II, 2011, with Kirsten Dryburgh, Window, Auckland

Bold Horizon National Contemporary Art Award, Waikato Museum, Hamilton
Deadlines, Annexe Gallery, (Malaysia)
Choice!, curated by Pippa Makgill, C3 Gallery, Melbourne (Aus)
Staging Miracles, with Kirsten Dryburgh, Viewfinder/Film Archive New Zealand, Auckland

Lightweight, curated by rm103, Auckland
Chin Chai, collaboration with Sharon Chin, 67 Tempinis Satu Gallery, (Malaysia)

Tell Me To My Face, curated by High Street Project, Christchurch
Footnotes (curator), Off The Edge magazine and online (simultaneous magazine and online exhibition)

2005 Very Big Numbers Are Scary, George Fraser Gallery, Auckland
2004 Painting 404, Union Building, Auckland

Trust Waikato Contemporary Art Award, Waikato Museum, Hamilton
Taint, +Wondermilk Gallery, (Malaysia)

Finalist in Bold Horizon National Contemporary Art Award (formerly Trust Waikato Contemporary Art Award), 2010.
Finalist in Trust Waikato Contemporary Art Award, 2003

Selected Writing
Bridging friendship: A distance that nourishes dialogue and engagement by Carmen Nge, exhibition review in Off The Edge magazine, September 2008 
Conversations Between Comrades: Dialogues In Space, catalogue essay by Simon Soon, from Chin Chai book published in 2008 
Chin Chai, catalogue essay by Kah Bee Chow, 2008