Staff Show 2024: Amity Chan

Meet some of the talented artists on The Phillips Collection’s staff, whose works are in the 2023 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show (on view through February 16, 2024).

Amity Chan with her artwork on view in the Staff Show

What is your role at The Phillips Collection? Are there any unique or interesting parts about your job that most people might not know about?

I have been a part of the Phillips family for almost two years now. Currently, I serve as the Advancement Communications and Research Associate in the Advancement Department. Prior to this, I worked as a Museum Assistant from 2022.

One interesting aspect of being a museum professional is that, despite working in the museum every day, I actually don’t get to spend a lot of time seeing the exhibitions! However, I am determined to dedicate more time to our next exhibition, Bonnard’s Worlds.

Who is your favorite artist in the collection?

Renée Stout, Elegba (Spirit of the Crossroads), 2015–19, The Phillips Collection, Gift of the artist and Hemphill Gallery, 2019

Renée Stout! As an artist who likes to experiment with a variety of mediums and materials, her multi-media approach in her works has deeply influenced me. I’m always excited to see what her creativity leads to next.

What is your favorite space within The Phillips Collection?

Definitely Galleries 115 and 116, where we have hosted the “Intersections” exhibition series featuring living and local artists. The tall ceiling in the space provides an opportunity for artists to experiment with innovative layouts and scales. The sun-filled room also adds a sense of liveliness, complementing the fact that these artists are living and working!

Linling Lu’s Soundwaves Intersections project in Gallery 116, spring 2023

What would you like people to know about your artwork on view in the 2024 Staff Show (or your work in general)?

On view in the Staff Show: Be Safe, My Friend, 2019

On view in the Staff Show: Handcuffs, 2019

Thanks for checking out my artwork! For me, art is a fantastic way to connect authentically with people, bridging gaps like language barriers, cultural differences, and physical distances. The messages in my art are deeply personal and emotional. Though the use of bold colors was not intentional, they organically reflected the intensity of my feelings at those moments.

In Be safe, my friend, I wanted to express my deep concerns for the Hong Kong pro-democracy supporters who were experiencing police brutality during the Anti-Extradition Law Protests in 2019. The print is inspired by “Fai Chun,” a traditional Chinese decoration used during Lunar New Year. This specific Fai Chun is meant to bring good luck to the household. Despite being far away from home, I still hope to bring good luck and safety to my fellow freedom fighters in Hong Kong. Handcuffs is a print series made to criticize the ongoing arrests of the Hong Kong pro-democracy supporters.

I’m always intrigued by what people experience when they see my works. Do they feel the emotions I poured into them? What catches their eye, or maybe what doesn’t? If you would like to share your experience with me, feel free to contact me at or on Instagram @emm.axz!

About the artist:

Amity Chan is a D.C-based multimedia artist and activist from Hong Kong. Combining art and activism, Chan aims to raise a greater awareness of human rights concerns in her home country. Chan’s works have been exhibited internationally including The Phillips Collection, Studio Gallery, Torpedo Factory Arts Center, Studio Arts College International, and the Maryland Institute College of Art. In 2021, Chan sought asylum in the U.S. due to raising concerns of prosecution for her use of art and protest. Despite uncertainties, she remains vocal through art and the emerging Hong Kong diaspora in the U.S. In 2023, she received the Jennie Lea Knight Fellowship from Studio Gallery. She also participated in the Hong Kong Summit, organized by the Hong Kong Democracy Council, where she connected with global diasporic organizers, human rights defenders, and U.S. Congress representatives. Chan also works as a Gallery Assistant at IA&A at Hillyer.