To mark International Women’s Day, we introduce five female artists who are shaking up Hong Kong’s art scene with their bold, boundary-breaking work

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Shirley Tse

Hong Kong-born artist Shirley Tse is at the forefront of art lovers' minds this year because she is going to represent the city at the Venice Biennale, which opens in May. Tse is the first female artist to represent Hong Kong with a solo show in Venice. This recognition has been a long time coming. For decades, Tse has been making thought-provoking installations that often incorporate sculpture, photography and video.

Many of her earlier works explored the role of plastic in contemporary society, with some of them made from polystyrene boxes and other packaging materials. But over time, Tse's work has expanded to consider on broader ideas of plasticity, reflecting on how people are shaped by their environments.

Tse is now based primarily in Los Angeles, where she’s a faculty member of the CalArts School of Art.

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Ellen Pau

Ellen Pau has been a fixture on Hong Kong’s art scene since the late 1980s, when she began creating video art and experimenting with installations, performance art and dance. On top of forging her own career as an artist, Pau founded artists’ collective Videotage with Wong Chi-fai, May Fun and Comyn Mo in 1986. Through Videotage, the group support and promote artists working with video and other new media.

In December last year, Para Site hosted Ellen Pau: What about Home Affairs? the first retrospective of her work.

See also: 5 Things To Know About Hong Kong Artist Ellen Pau

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Firenze Lai

Many of Firenze Lai’s distinctive paintings may appear whimsical, but her distinctive brushstrokes, inventive use of colour and distorted figures also reflect on bigger issues, including how the mind and body are being shaped by contemporary society.

Lai’s work has previously been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the New Museum Triennale in New York and the Shanghai Biennale.

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Angela Su

Another artist whose work explores the human body, Angela Su draws on her degree in biochemistry to create pseudo-scientific drawings, videos, performances and installations that often feel simultaneously gothic and sci-fi.

Su was recently commissioned by the UK-based Wellcome Trust to create a new video work for Far Away, Too Close, an exhibition at Tai Kwun that runs until April 21. Far Away, Too Close is part of Contagious Cities, a city-wide initiative reflecting on the history of contagious disease in Hong Kong.

See also: Art Insider: Mimi Chun

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Chloe Ho

Chloe Ho is an ink artist—but not in the traditional sense of the term. Ho is on a mission to bring ink art into the 21st century, mixing it with other materials—including coffee and spray paint—and even going so far as to create ‘ink’ artworks using virtual reality technology.

Ho’s works hang in collectors’ homes in Hong Kong, London, Paris, Gstaad, Tokyo, Washington DC, Beijing and many more. Her 2015 work Ocean’s Vase has a starring role in the new Rosewood Hong Kong—appearing on key cards, in-room notebooks and more.

See also: Hong Kong Art Month: 10 Local Exhibitions You Can't Miss