Butterfly Wu: Queen of the Silver Screen

Butterfly Wu (1908-1989) was China’s first “movie queen” and the first Chinese actress to achieve international recognition.

In an era when Chinese society still held prejudices against the performing arts, Wu devoted herself to the film industry with sheer passion for movies and acting, and soon became the most popular star actress in Shanghai. In 1931, Wu starred in China’s first sound film Sing-Song Girl Red Peony; In 1933, Wu was voted “Movie Queen”, a title that had since been with her all her life; In 1960, Wu won the Best Actress Award at the 7th Film Festival in Asia held in Tokyo, Japan; In 1985, Wu was accorded Special Award by the Taipei Golden Horse Awards committee, in recognition of the evergreen actress’ outstanding contributions in her career spanning over 40 years.

Since the 1930s, Butterfly Wu had been active in cultural exchanges with global film personalities, such as Anna May Wong, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and Josef von Sternberg. In 1935, Wu was invited with a delegation to visit the Soviet Union and participate in the Moscow International Film Festival, and met with Soviet directors Sergei Eisenstein, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, and actress Lyubov Orlova. Accompanied by the Peking opera master Mei Lanfang, Wu toured European countries and surveyed local film industries during this trip. It was the first international presence made since China had its own movies.

Wu settled in Vancouver, Canada in 1975 and lived a peaceful life under the name “Po Kuen Poon”. Her legendary life spanned eras of drastic changes while she led the first steps for Chinese film to enter the global scene. Butterfly Wu is not only an outstanding Chinese actress, but also commemorated as an important figure in Chinese Canadian culture and world film history.

On the occasion of Butterfly Wu’s 115th birthday, this exhibition presents more than 100 pieces of photos and items from Butterfly Wu’s personal collection, inviting you to explore the legacy of the Queen of the Silver Screen.


Curator: Guo Yubing | Academic Advisor: Zheng Shengtian | Special Advisor: Lily H.C. Liu | Producer: Ning Jing

Special thanks to Society for Chinese Canadian Literature Studies and Vancouver Art Gallery



Sunzen Art Gallery, 420 Howe St., Vancouver 


TUE - FRI:  10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
SAT:  11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Free Admission









策展人:国瑜冰      |      学术指导:郑胜天      |      特别顾问:刘慧琴      |      出品人:宁静




Sunzen Art Gallery(温哥华三生缘), 420 Howe St., Vancouver 


周二 - 周五:  10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
周六:  11:00 AM - 6:00 PM