Between two worlds
Updated: 2014-07-22 08:07
By Xu Jingxi (China Daily)
Wearing an Aboriginal necklace, a man strikes a typical kung fu greeting pose. He is wearing four flags on his back like wings. They are the flag of China, the banner of the King of Scots and the national flags of New Zealand and Spain.
This is the image of a huge digital print hanging at the entrance of YibanYiban, which means "half half" in Chinese. It is an exhibition by three Australian contemporary artists with Aboriginal and Chinese heritage which is on display in Guangzhou until Aug 17.
Curator Djon Mundine says the exhibition aims to tell Chinese audiences about Australian Aboriginal people and provoke reactions from the audience in response to the universal issues presented in the art works.
"Art is conversation. Few Chinese people know that we actually had conversations between Aboriginal and Chinese people long ago. And we should keep the conversation going," Mundine says.
Interactions between Chinese and Australian Aboriginals date back to the 1850s, when thousands of Chinese traveled to the Australian goldfields, including those in the Northern Territory and northern Queensland, where there are large Aboriginal communities. Many of them were from places in southern China, such as Guangdong and Fujian provinces. Some of the Chinese married Aboriginal people.
Jason Wing, 37, the man in the huge digital print and one of the three Australian artists, showcases his mixed cultural heritage with the piece Wing Dynasty.
"This work is inspired by watching Chinese opera for the first time. I noticed that the general on the battlefield in the opera has flags to show the name of his family or clan," Wing says.