AN exhibition that will showcase Chinese art and culture opens in a city centre gallery today.

The Queen, The Chairman and I, an exhibition of photographs by Hong Kong-born artist Kurt Tong, starts at the Impressions Gallery today.

It marks the start of a six-month season of exhibitions and events at the gallery looking at Chinese culture and the links between the UK and China.

In preparation for the exhibition, Impressions staff have been creating a “Chinese tea room” in the centre of the gallery.

Mr Tong will fly over to Bradford for an artist’s reception on January 19 and a talk on January 21.

Curated by Anne McNeill, the exhibition reflects the links between Hong Kong, a former British colony, the UK and mainland China. Among items on display are heirlooms, contemporary photographs of China and images from Mr Tong’s family history.

He said: “I traced the history of my family in a bid to find out how two of the most influential people in history, Queen Victoria and Chairman Mao, affected my family.

"Giving equal importance to new photographs, found photographs and writing, this project reconnects me with the Hong Kong of the past, through the recollections of my extended family.”

His work has been displayed on five continents.

Among the pieces are photos of some of Mr Tong’s ancestors, including “matchmaking photos” taken to help them find husbands and wives.

Angela Sheard, programme co-ordinator at the gallery, said: “We wanted to give people the chance to learn more about Chinese culture through photography.

“We want to introduce people to traditional Chinese customs.

“It is a very interesting place and has very strong links with the UK.”

Those attending the exhibition will be invited to drink tea in the specially constructed tea room, read Mr Tong’s artist book, and share their own family stories.

The exhibition will be followed by another in spring, Mother River by Yan Wang Preston, which will run from March 31 to June 24. The photographs on display will document the 6,211km route of the Yangtze River.

During the six-month period there will be themed events including artist talks, tea ceremonies and lantern making workshops.