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.

CIRCUIT Projects

Goodnight Kiwi, Ikono TV, Germany (2014)

Selected Exhibitions

Goodnight Kiwi, Ikono TV, Germany

Staging Miracles III, Square2, Wellington City Gallery
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, Australia 
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 


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