Toronto - Museum announces special exhibitions and events exploring Chinese arts and culture

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is pleased to offer visitors an engaging line-up of exhibitions and special programming this May during China Month at the ROM. As part of Asian Heritage Month, the Museum launches this month-long celebration on Sunday, May 4, with the opening of the Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the ROM’s exhibition Shanghai Kaleidoscope, featuring an adventurous mix of video installations, photo-works, designer fashion apparel, runway videos and films by Shanghai's leading contemporary artists and designers.

Visitors can also explore historical Shanghai through the ROM-organized exhibit Shanghai 1860 -1940: Historical Photographs, opening on April 26, 2008, as well as enjoy a series of lectures, courses, films and musical performances that focus on Chinese arts and culture. The exhibitions and Sunday programming are included with general ROM admission. Some events are ticketed and require registration. See below for exhibitions and program highlights and visit the ROM website at for more details.

“The ROM has a longstanding commitment to presenting East Asian art and architecture and we are delighted to expand on this with two fascinating exhibitions and diverse programming for all visitors to enjoy,” said William Thorsell, ROM Director and CEO.


Organized by the ICC at the ROM and guest-curated by Christopher Phillips of New York’s International Center for Photography, Shanghai Kaleidoscope is the world’s first exhibition that examines the city’s fascinating and quick reconfiguration as a 21st century city as seen from the vantage point of those who are taking part in its astonishing transformation and growth. Presented by Manulife Financial, this exhibition will be on display from May 4, 2008 to November 2, 2008 in the ICC’s Roloff Beny Gallery on Level 4 of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal.

On Wednesday, April 30, 2008, the ICC hosts Culture Shock, its annual fundraising event. In addition to a preview of the exhibition with the curator, guests will be treated to a special performance by Shanghai musical group the Possicobilities. Led by singer Coco Zhao, the group’s distinctive sound blends traditional oriental music with modern western jazz. For more information on the ICC and Culture Shock, contact or 416.586.5524.

On Saturday, May 3, 2008, guests of the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto’s annual fundraising gala, the 2008 Imperial Ball Shanghai Kaleidoscope Gala Night will descend on the Museum’s Lee-Chin Crystal for a spectacular evening, including an exclusive tour of Shanghai Kaleidoscope, gourmet dining prepared by ROM chefs, live performances, silent auction and dancing. Imperial Ball or raffle ticket-holders will receive 50 per cent off general ROM admission. For more information on this gala and the Chinese Cultural Centre, please visit

From April 26, 2008 to October 26, 2008, the ROM presents Shanghai 1860 -1940: Historical Photographs in the Herman Herzog Levy Gallery, the Museum’s main venue for changing exhibits on East Asia. Drawing from the ROM’s collections, this exhibition provides an intimate glimpse of Shanghai in the late 19th and early 20th century, a rich yet tumultuous period in its history. Personal, powerful and poignant images chronicle a century of the city’s architecture, people and way of life up to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

China Month Programming:

As part of Asian Heritage Month, the ROM offers a wide range of courses, lectures and films, as well as Chinese-inspired cuisine in Food Studio and c5 Restaurant Lounge for the entire month of May. Sunday programming is free with general Museum admission. For some ticketed events, registration is required. See below for highlights. More programming will be added, including events produced by the ICC at the ROM during the engagement of Shanghai Kaleidoscope. Visit for more details.

Sunday programming:

Free with ROM admission.

May 4: Contemporary pop music group Dynasty performs in Chinese and English (2 pm); The ROM and WNED- PBS TV present a screening of the 1934 Chinese silent film classic The Goddess (Shen nü). (3 pm) Prior to the screening, Dr. Richard Meyer, President Emeritus of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Seattle University film professor and Visiting Professor at the Center for Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Hong Kong will speak about the Shanghai film industry.

May 11: A performance by Toronto Chinese Orchestra. (2 pm)

ay 18: Shanghai Kaleidoscope Concert performed by jazz pianist Lee Pui Ming. (2 pm)

May 25: The ROM and Honens International Piano Competition present a performance by Chinese pianist Hong Xu. (2 pm)

Monday Film Series - Screening Shanghai:

May 5, Shanghai Triad (1994), directed by Zhang Yimou.

May 12: Street Angel (1937), directed by Yuan Muzhi.

May 26: Suzhou River (2000), directed by Lou Ye.

After each film, writer, curator and filmmaker Michael Vokins will lead a discussion. Mr. Vokins has studied the films of mainland China and Taiwan and has been involved with film festivals throughout East Asia and North America.

All films begin at 7 pm in the Signy & Cléophée Eaton Theatre.

Cost: $15 (online $13) per evening / ROM members $12 (online $10) Cost for all three: $40 (online $34) /ROM members $31 (online $25)

Please visit the ROM website, as more events will be added.

Programming is subject to change.