New exhibition examines Asian/Australian identities21 February 2012 Artery
The latest exhibition in the Australia Council foyer presents a selection of emerging, mid-career and established artists whose work examines shifting cultural alignments between Asia and Australia. The exhibition—curated by Samuel Zammit and presented by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art—features work by Eric Bridgeman, Will French, Shen Shaomin, Cyrus Tang, Jason Wing and Soo Joo Yoo.
In keeping with 4A’s focus on shifts in contemporary Asian Australian visual arts practice, the featured artists were chosen for their experimental approaches and the way their work examines the increasingly complex cultural and political landscape of the Asia-Pacific region.
Filmed on location in his mother’s village in Papua New Guinea, Bridgeman’s work, The Fight (2010) features members of his family engaged in a staged battle. Dressed in mock tribal costume—complete with weapons, shields and NRL football merchandise—Bridgeman’s film distinguishes between the daily experiences of his family and PNG stereotypes.
Jason Wing’s work is visually simple, but conceptually compelling. The artist depicts two words: slavery and redrum (murder spelt backwards), written in tobacco and red wine respectively. The terminology and media are intentionally loaded. The introduction of tabacco and wine into Aborginal communities was a subversive tactic to use substance abuse as a form of subjegation. Unfortunately, this is an experience not unique to the indigenous inhabitants of Australia, but rather an economic and socio-cultural tool in imperialism through the Asia-Pacific.
The Visual Arts Board recently made a triennial agreement with 4A deciding to include it among the board’s Key Organisations. With this new investment in the organisation, 4A will continue to work with artists across the region to explore their curatorial aims. Many of the artists involved in this exhibition have also been recipients of Australia Council funding.
The exhibition continues until 21 March 2012.
Image: Constraint Movement 2012 by Soo Joo Yoo. Photo courtesy of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.