Sophia Cai is a Melbourne-based curator, arts writer and public programmer. She is particularly interested in Asian art history, the intersection between art and contemporary craft, as well as feminist methodologies and community-based practices.
She completed a Masters with Distinction in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London in 2014, supported by a Friends of the Courtauld Scholarship, and previously graduated from the Australian National University with a First-Class Honours degree in Art History and Curatorship in 2011, receiving the Janet Wilkie Art History Honours Prize for her final thesis on Chinese contemporary photography.
In addition to her tertiary qualifications, Sophia has gained experience in a major museums, independent spaces, and commercial galleries in Australia and the UK including the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Craft (Melbourne), Ian Potter Museum of Art (Melbourne) and Serpentine Galleries (London). She is currently the Public Programs Coordinator at the Australian Tapestry Workshop, and a participant in the Emerging Cultural Leaders program at Footscray Community Arts Centre in Melbourne.
As an independent curator Sophia has worked on a number of projects and exhibitions. Recent curatorial projects include ‘Secret Garden’ at Schoolhouse Studios, with Caitlin Shearer, the ‘PLAYFUL’ exhibition and public programs for National Youth Week at City Library Gallery, ‘Some words are just between us’ at Firstdraft, ‘Closing the Distance‘ at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, ‘Slice of Life‘ at Craft, ‘No Woman is an Island‘ at BLINDSIDE, ‘Every Dog Will Have Its Day’ at Casual Powerhouse Arts Centre with Kathlenn Linn, and ‘Disobedient Daughters’ at Metro Arts, Brisbane. She was also the guest curator 2016-2018 at The Dolls House Gallery, a miniature art gallery located in Melbourne.
In addition to exhibition catalogues and artist commissioned essays, Sophia’s arts writing has appeared in Artist Profile, Art Almanac, 4A Papers, Un Extended, Runway Conversations, The Journal of Australian Ceramics, Peril Magazine, Liminal Magazine, ArtsHub, Antiques and Art NSW, and the Canberra Times. In 2016 she was selected for the SEVENTH Emerging Writers program and also the inaugural Craft Writers Program.
Sophia’s side projects include Dearest Projects, a curatorial and creative collaboration with pal Caitlin Shearer – together they have co-curated three exhibitions and run a craft-club in Melbourne. She also co-facilitates MONOGRAPH, a Melbourne-based arts reading circle with artist Charlotte Watson, with recent appearances at the MCA Zine Fair and the NGV Art Book Fair. She is also the founder of MAFAP – Melbourne Artists and Friends of Asian Persuasion, ostensibly a social club for Asian artists and friends in Melbourne but really just an excuse to eat dumplings.
Sophia currently lives and works in Melbourne, and is greatly inspired by the city’s thriving arts and craft community. When not visiting art exhibitions or public libraries, Sophia enjoys knitting and taking walks with her greyhound best friend Rosie.