Are development and environmentalism incompatible?

Melissa Chiu, Museum Director and Curator for Contemporary Asian and Asian-American art at the Asia Society, has had a long involvement with Asian contemporary art and is recognized as a leading authority in the field. Prior to working at the Asia Society, she served as the founding Director of the Asia-Australia Arts Centre in Sydney, a non-profit contemporary art center devoted to promoting dialogue in the Asia-Pacific region among artists, writers, curators and filmmakers.

Additionally, Ms. Chiu has curated over thirty exhibitions with artists from Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Thailand and Japan, among others. She was a founding member of the Asian Contemporary Art Consortium and a driving force behind the establishment of Asian Contemporary Art Week, which will mark its sixth year in New York next Spring.

Melissa Chiu received her B.A. from the University of Western Sydney and her M.A. from the College of Fine Arts, University of South Wales. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Western Sydney and has authored many artist monographs and conference papers and has published widely in journals, magazines and for exhibition catalogues. Ms. Chiu has been a faculty member of the Rhode Island School of Design where she taught Asian contemporary art and design. She has also served on a number of boards and grant panels, including the New York State Council on the Arts, Museums Grant Committee and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. 

  • Transcript


Question: Is development incompatible with environmentalism?

Melissa Chiu: I mean China _____ leadership in China has to also recognize the importance of the environment in its policies. And you know, I often hear advocates of Chinese . . . the Chinese government say, when they talk about the environment, they use the analogy that, you know, first world nations have developed and ruined their environment. And it’s almost like a room of smokers where China comes in and they all say, “You can’t smoke,” meaning . . . the analogy being that, of course, all of the first world nations have already developed and they don’t . . . they want to somehow hinder China from smoking, if you push the analogy further in terms of . . . in terms of actually developing. And I think that that’s . . . And some in the Chinese government may recognize this already; but I think that this will be really something that will affect the future of not just China, of course because of its size, but also the world.


Recorded on: 7/11/07