4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (4A) is an independent not-for-profit organisation based in Sydney, Australia. 4A fosters excellence and innovation in contemporary culture through the commissioning, presentation, documentation and research of contemporary art. Our program is presented throughout Australia and Asia , where we ensure that contemporary art plays a central role in understanding and developing the dynamic relationship between Australia and the wider Asian region.
4A’s activities facilitate cultural dialogue between Australia and Asia in the belief that Asian cultural thinking significantly shapes the world today and will have an important impact on the future. In Australia we showcase stories, present a multiplicity of perspectives, and explore contemporary concerns and ideas that influence how we, as a nation, engage with Asia. We have a particular focus on art that addresses Asian-Australian experiences and the contributions that diverse Asian migration has made ⎯ and continues to make ⎯ in shaping Australia. 4A’s focus in Asia is to promote the breadth of Australian artistic talent, seeking to build an image of Australia that is open, progressive and fundamentally connected with our Asian neighbours.
4A has been a leader in Asian contemporary art in Australia since 1996. In the decades since, we have established a highly respected reputation among artists and audiences, and within an expanding network of international art institution peers. Our long history and ongoing work across Asia is recognised as having raised awareness of Asian-Australian art and culture we continue to celebrate Australia’s diverse cultural heritage and growing links throughout the wider Asian region.
The 4A team are currently working online and offsite while the City of Sydney undertakes remedial works to improve our Haymarket gallery this year. During this time, we continue to commission, present, document and research contemporary Asian art. In 2021, we are presenting programs, exhibitions and events offsite and online, with our key programs 4A Digital artist commissions, 4A Kids activities, and the 4A Papers. Stay tuned on 4A social media to get updates on 2021 programs, events and partnerships. This Haymarket renovation period ensures that 4A will continue to play a leading role in understanding and developing the dynamic relationship between Australia and the wider Asian region through contemporary art—for many years to come.
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4A’s activities are built on four key elements:
- Artistic Program
- We produce and present annual programs of exhibitions, performances, public programs, site-specific projects, publications, cinema and education programs, with an emphasis on commissioning new work.
- Our exhibition program features exhibitions of emerging, mid-career and established Australian and international artists whose work emerges from diverse social contexts.
- Our projects are supported by government, cultural and commercial partners in collaborative relationships that seek to broaden the scope and reach of our activities.
- 4A engages in dialogue about Asian and Australian cultural relations, initiating conversations, responding to current developments and concerns, providing opportunities for collaboration, and highlighting awareness of Australia’s place in the Asia-Pacific region.
- We have developed networks and dialogues between countries and community groups that inform how we program Asian and Asian-Australia exhibitions. We seek to make these conversations and connections accessible and available to all, from students and researchers to institutions and of course individual artists.
- Throughout Asia 4A presents and represents Australian creativity profiling Australian artists on the international stage.
- Professional and Industry Development
- Through our annual program of studio residency programs, curatorial workshop intensives, publishing platforms and public talks series, 4A provides substantial support for artists’ and career development for arts workers.
- 4A plays a critical role in developing Asian literacy among Australian artists and curators. We create professional development opportunities that expose the next generation of arts leaders to the nuances and complexities of a dynamic Asian-Australian engagement.
- At the core of 4A’s purpose is a vital commitment to community. Established by a group of artists and people concerned about the visibility and advancement of Asian-Australian cultural contributions, 4A continues to address community concerns and aspirations from our home in Sydney’s Haymarket and beyond.
- In addition to artistic programs, we both regularly consult with and provide opportunities for community-led activities that seek to enhance understanding and appreciation of our activities through representative engagement.
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art acknowledges the cultures of Indigenous peoples in Australia, in particular the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation, and their continuing cultural and creative practices in this land. 4A pays respect to elders past, present and emerging as the traditional custodians of the lands where we live, work and create. 4A recognises that Australia’s culture has been, and continues to be, uniquely shaped by Indigenous peoples, by centuries of migration and by generations born in Australia.