4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art will close our office and galleries from Wednesday 18 March to ensure the health and well-being of our staff, creatives, audience and wider community.

From Wednesday 18 March, 4A will also suspend all planned public programming and performances (at 4A galleries and with partners at the Chinese Garden of Friendship and through our touring program Eugenia Lim: The Ambassador) with a look to reschedule these programs upon reopening and deliver additional digital content where possible.

4A and International Curators Forum have decided to postpone the exhibition I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney. With a desire to realise the exhibition at a time when our creative team can work together in Sydney and audiences can engage with the artworks and our planned public programs, the Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney project is at this time postponed from April 2020 until November 2020. The exhibitionThings That Fall Apart will be rescheduled to our 2021 program. The 4A Curators Intensive is now planned for November 2020 in line with the Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney exhibition.

4A staff will be working from home in this period and we are working to make sure that our program will return to our gallery and partner spaces better than ever, and that you can stay engaged with and support the important work of our creative community in this time of isolation.

While 4A will close our physical gallery space in this period, we are looking forward to engaging with you digitally – on our Instagram, Facebook, Mixcloud, YouTube – and through our website, archive and the 4A Papers. Stay tuned for updates about our public programming, events and exhibitions through these platforms, and stay in touch with our team through email and phone – details here: 

We look forward to staying in touch,

The 4A team

4A Curators’ Intensive Participants Announced


4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art will close our office and galleries from Wednesday 18 March to ensure the health and wellbeing of our staff, creatives, audience and wider community. The 4A Curators Intensive is now planned for November 2020 in line with the Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney exhibition’s postponement.

Anna Louise Richardson, Danielle Fusco, Emily Wakeling, Farzana Khan, Olivia Welch, Perri Sparnon, Priya Pavri, Sebastian Henry-Jones, Tian Zhang and Wilson Yeung have been selected as the participants of the 2020 4A Curators’ Intensive.

This is the fifth iteration of the Intensive program that has been offered biennially since 2012 with support from Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. In 2020, the program aligns with the first iteration of 4A and International Curators Forum (ICF)’s exhibition, I am a beating heart in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney. With a focus on diaspora, the 2020 program will expand, complicate and even destablise the term itself engaging with the complexities, challenges and continued relevance that the diasporic experience and diasporic art have today.


About the curators:

Anna Louise Richardson


Anna Louise Richardson is an independent, interdisciplinary curator and artist particularly interested in art practices concerned with place making, the archive and identity politics.

Living and working on a cattle farm in Western Australia, her drawing practice investigates rural identity and mythology through relationships with the natural world complicated by human intervention, intergenerational expectations and the role of animals in culture, commerce and ecology.

Graduating with a BFA from Curtin University in 2013, she is currently curator of The Alternative Archive, a survey of regional practice in Western Australia at John Curtin Gallery co-curated with Director Chris Malcolm; Refractive Realities: 2020 PICA Salon; and the John Stringer Prize 2020.

Richardson has curated independent projects at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Fremantle Arts Centre, Galerie Pompom, Moana Project Space, Chapter House Lane for Human Rights Arts & Film Festival, co-curated exhibitions at Arts Project Australia for Next Wave 2016, a touring exhibition for ART ON THE MOVE and worked for Artsource. She also participated in the Australia Council Emerging Arts Professionals Program for the Venice Biennale in May 2019.

Danielle Fusco


Danielle Fusco is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and collaborator from Whadjuk Noongar Boodjar/ Perth, Western Australia. Danielle is passionate about supporting early career artists and producing innovative, exciting and engaging cultural experiences for the community, outside of an institutional framework where possible. In 2018 Danielle graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Master of Art Curatorship. Between 2018 and 2019 Danielle was the gallery manager for Perth based artist-run initiative Paper Mountain. Her independent curatorial projects include Trace-makers (2018), What makes a Mountain (2019), and Speak softly, carry a big stick (2020)Most recently Danielle has been working on a community arts project, Forward Bound, a roving exhibition program sponsored by the City of Vincent Perth (2020). By working in two ways simultaneously, Danielle reflects on her role as a contemporary curator, striving to contribute to meaningful change and genuine impact within the arts and cultural landscape.

Emily Wakeling


Emily Wakeling is Assistant Curator at Artspace Mackay and recently held the role of Assistant Curator, Asian and Pacific Art, at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art for the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. Working across curating, art writing, and museum learning, Emily spent six years in Tokyo in multiple arts-related roles including Editor of the arts website Tokyo Art Beat. As Co-director of Brisbane art space Boxcopy, Emily curated a program of local Indigenous and non-indigenous artists as well as “All We Can Do is Pray,” a group exhibition of Japan-based artists finding parallels between Japanese survivors of World War II and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Her curatorial projects are spread across Japan and Australia, including solo exhibitions of Archie Moore and Courtney Coombs in Tokyo art spaces, and the Japanese group exhibition “Come Close: Japanese Artists within their Communities” at Bus Projects, Melbourne. Emily is also a long-serving freelance writer who has contributed to Artforum, ArtAsiaPacific, Japan Times, Tokyo Art Beat, Art Review Asia, Real Tokyo, Eyeline and Art Monthly Australia.

Olivia Welch


Olivia Welch is an arts and cultural professional working as the Gallery Programs & Touring Exhibitions Coordinator for Museums & Galleries of NSW. Her research and curatorial interests are in sharing the stories of those culturally and linguistically outside of Australia’s advertised grand narrative, and looking into practices that interrogate the colonial foundations of the museum through the permanent collection and its collection policies.

Most recently she curated Our Common Bond for MAY SPACE, Sydney. She has also worked as an exhibitions and curatorial assistant, researcher and editor at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum’s Modern Collection in Lisbon, Portugal.

Perri Sparnon 


Perri Sparnon is a curator and researcher based in Melbourne. She has been a research associate at The University of Adelaide’s Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture (CAMEA) since 2015, where she facilitated the development of a series of international conferences, exhibitions and publications including the landmark ‘Ilm: Science, Religion and Art in Islam. She has also contributed curatorial research to projects at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia and Islamic Museum of Australia. She is currently the managing editor of Index Journal (, Australia’s only online peer-reviewed art history journal. Perri’s research focuses upon the art and architectural histories of the Islamic world in Western and Southeast Asia. Her publications in this area include ‘Science and Art: Anatomical illustration in early Islamic optics’ (2019). In 2018, she was awarded the International Council of Museums Australia’s International Museum Day essay prize for a paper on hyperconnected museums.

Priya Pavri 


Priya Pavri is an independent curator currently based in Narrm/Birraranga (Melbourne, Australia). Her work explores how art can address issues of social and political importance and present layered and complex truths, while building empathy and understanding for experiences and stories outside one’s own.

With a background in Law and Arts, Priya has lead community projects in the not-for-profit and government sector in urban and remote Australia, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. She is currently the General Manager of Next Wave Festival, an Australian arts organisation that is committed to a world where artists and audiences from all backgrounds can come together to participate in ground breaking new art and ideas; the Director of Road to Refuge, not-for-profit organisation that provides platforms for refugee voices in their words and on their terms, and a co-founder of ‘I Had One Too’ an online platform to share stories about abortion, and discuss how laws and public perceptions impact safe and accessible women’s health services in Australia.

Priya has a history of growing community projects and organisations through unique and creative endeavours, and is committed to seeking alternative models of working with community that challenge existing leadership and governance structures.

In 2019, Priya received a Carclew Fellowship for Social Justice and the Arts, to develop a curatorial and film practice. Most recently, she curated Illusion a multi-venue exhibition on Kaurna Country (Adelaide, Australia).

Sebastian Henry-Jones



Sebastian Henry-Jones is an emerging curator lead by an interest in writing, DIY thinking and the potential of the exhibition format to cultivate strategies of collectivity, social responsibility and tenderness that poetically communicate across cultural and social difference. He looks to embody these ideals in his work by centring the needs, ideas and requirements of those that he works with, and so his practice is informed by striving for a personal ethics with sincerity, generosity, honest communication and learning at its core.

Seb has staged group exhibitions and independent projects in Sydney and interstate, and is a co-founder of Desire Lines and Emerson. He is a board member at Runway Journal, and has most recently worked as a curatorial assistant for The 22nd Biennale of Sydney, titled NIRIN.

 Tian Zhang


Tian Zhang is a curator and producer working at the intersections of art and cultural practice. Her work often involves a recalibration of rituals and cultural phenomena within our understandings of contemporary art and life. Her curatorial work has been nominated for a MGNSW Imagine Award, and presented at Customs House Sydney, Peacock Gallery in Auburn, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts and Metro Arts, Brisbane.

Tian is a founding co-director of Pari, a new artist-run initiative for Parramatta and formerly Chair and co-director of Firstdraft (2018-9). She has experience working across disciplines, most notably as producer at Urban Theatre Projects where she created multiple award-winning socially-engaged and site-specific works for Sydney Festival (Bankstown:Live, 2015 and Home Country, 2017) and a documentary on ABC’s Compass (One Day For Peace, 2015). She is an alumni of the Australia Council for the Arts’ Future Leaders Program 2018 and the British Council’s INTERSECT Program 2019 for changemakers.

Wilson Yeung 



Wilson Yeung Chun Wai is an artist-curator, researcher and creative producer. He is currently a PhD candidate at the School of Architecture and Urban Design at RMIT University. Wilson is a collaborator of Independent Curators International and an alumnus of Shanghai Curator Lab at Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

Wilson’s special interest lies in collective curatorial practices and Asian contemporary art in an Australian context. His practice-based research ‘Curating the In-Between’ focuses on exploring the role of curators and curatorial practices in order to develop collective curatorial strategies and frameworks. This research articulates curatorial practice that interrogates the role of a curator in facilitating cross-cultural collaborations as a ‘cultural collaborator’.

Wilson’s works have been presented nationally and internationally, including Jogja Biennale, Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Pingyao International Photography Festival, Fine Art Asia, Hong Kong Art Centre, Ox Warehouse Macau, International Multidisciplinary Printmaking Conference and AAANZ Conference.

4A is Certified Climate Active

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to announce that we have been certified as a Climate Active carbon neutral organisation, set by the Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy. As a founding member of Climate Active, 4A is only the second arts organisation in NSW to be certified, along with the Sydney Opera House.

As one of the goals in 4A’s Sustainability Plan (2018-19), Climate Active certification has allowed our organisation to measure a base year of emissions, reduce these where possible, offset remaining emissions and set sustainable goals moving forward. 4A has committed to measuring our carbon footprint yearly, with external auditing to occur every three years to ensure goals and KPIs are addressed long term.

Undertaking the certification process has enabled 4A to identify the different areas our organisation could address to improve sustainability. Within our gallery building these include our electricity usage, freight, catering, waste-to-landfill, recycling, advertising, paper usage, printing and office IT. Beyond this we were able to understand the scope of carbon generated by our offsite programs including exhibitions, performances, symposiums, research trips, professional development opportunities, travel and accommodation for staff, artists, writers and professionals that we employ. Certification has engaged all 4A staff in collecting data to measure our carbon footprint and encouraged a working culture that is conscious of reducing this footprint where possible.

4A’s sustainability priorities are first and foremost to reduce energy consumption and waste that we can already identify, whilst approaching carbon offsetting as a last resort for the aspects of our footprint that we are working to reduce. In the 2018 calendar year, 4A produced a total of 138.9 tCO2-e. Our offset purchases were split equally three ways; Forests Alive (Tasmania), Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve Project (Central Kalimantan, Indonesia) and Dachunhe Sanji Hydropower (Yunnan Province, China). 4A chose these three offset projects to reflect our engagement across Australia and the wider Asia region. 


2019 4A Beijing Studio Program Recipients Announced

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to announce the participants in our 2019 4A Beijing Studio Program.

Jessica Bradford, Owen Leong and Emily Parsons-Lord have been selected to embark on a month-long residency in September 2019 at the studios renowned Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin.

The 4A Beijing Studio is now in its seventh year of providing early and mid career Australian artists with a unique opportunity to research new projects, develop new professional networks and witness first-hand the changes occurring in one of the most vibrant cities in Asia.

Jessica Bradford, Owen Leong and Emily Parsons-Lord were selected by a committee comprising Susan Acret, board member, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; Cameron Macqueen, Chief Operations Officer, ArtChain Global; Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, artist and 2016 4A Beijing Studio Resident; Natalie Seiz, Curator, Asian Art, Art Gallery of NSW; and Shen Shaomin.

Bradford, Leong and Parsons-Lord were selected based on the strength of their applications, the potential benefits for their practices and capacity to extend their own cross-cultural networks.

The 2019 4A Beijing Studio will give these artists a fantastic opportunity to place their practices within a much broader international art context in a city such as Beijing. The Studio program covers airfares, accommodation, daily meals, travel/medical insurance and a small stipend. Moreover, it will provide an ongoing professional mentorship, cross-cultural exchange and access to 4A’s networks in China.

Bradford, Leong and Parsons-Lord will travel to China in September 2019.

About Jessica Bradford

Jess Bradford is a Singaporean-born and Sydney-based artist working across painting, ceramics, video and installation. Her work explores her mixed race heritage by examining representations of cultural identity. Her current body of work explores these topics through a Chinese cultural theme park in Singapore named Tiger Balm Garden. The park exhibits painted concrete dioramas based on Chinese folklore, myths and legends. Privately built in the 1930s by the Burmese-Chinese brothers behind the medicated ointment ‘Tiger Balm’, and publicly bought in the 1980s, the park has been renovated several times by various owners to portray different representations of Chinese culture. The project questions how we define Chinese culture, while engaging with personal and collective memory and concepts of cultural inheritance.

Bradford has held solo exhibitions at Galerie Pompom, Firstdraft, and MOP Projects. Her work has been included in curated group shows at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art (2019), Delmar Gallery (2017), Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (2015), Fairfield Museum & Gallery (2014) and Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest (2013). Bradford holds an MFA by Research from Sydney College of the Arts, and was a recipient of the Australian Postgraduate Award. She has been a finalist in the Ramsay Art Prize, John Fries Memorial Prize, the Tim Olsen Drawing Prize, and the Jenny Birt Award. Bradford is represented by Galerie pompom, Sydney.

About Owen Leong

Owen Leong is a contemporary artist working across performance, photography, video and sculpture. His artistic practice uses personal mythologies to explore identity and transformation. He is interested in systems of power, culture and representation. His work uses the body, subjectivity and personhood to reflect on universal aspects of human nature.

Leong’s work has been exhibited widely in Australia and internationally including the Art Gallery of New South Wales; Art Gallery of South Australia; Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre; Monash Gallery of Art; 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; Singapore Art Museum; Today Art Museum, Beijing; Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai; OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen; and the National Museum of Poznan, Poland.

In 2017, Leong was a finalist in the Ramsay Art Prize, Australia’s richest prize for young contemporary artists working in any medium. In 2016 Leong was a recipient of the MAMA National Photography Prize and in 2015, he won the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award. Leong has received numerous awards and grants from the Australia Council for the Arts, Ian Potter Cultural Trust, and Asialink. He has held artist residencies at Artspace, Sydney; Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art, Manchester; Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris; Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan; Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Shanghai; and Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong.

His work is held in the public collections of Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bendigo Art Gallery, Gold Coast City Gallery, Murray Art Museum Albury, Newcastle Art Gallery, and private collections in Australia and internationally.

About Emily Parsons-Lord

Emily Parsons-Lord’s artworks vanish into thin air. Creating art that exists at the fringes of natural sciences and politics, she transforms research into poetic artworks that can be inhaled, disappeared, or melt before your eyes.

Emily Parsons-Lord makes ephemeral installations and performances that are informed by research and critical dialogue with climate sciences, natural history, and politics. Her work attempts to reconcile lofty vast infinities of our place in time and space, and slippages to the political realities of being a human today in discourses of climate change. Employing tragi-humour, scale, and performance, Emily interrogates the materiality of invisibility, magic, and stories we tell about reality.

Working out of Parramatta Artist Studios, recent work includes recreating the air from past eras in Earth’s evolution, recreating starlight in coloured smoke, multichannel video, and experimenting with pheromones, aerogel, and explosions. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally and participated in Primavera, 2016, the NSW Visual Arts Fellowship, 2017, Bristol Biennial – In Other Worlds, 2016, John Fries Award, 2018, A BROKEN LINK, Central St Martin’s, London UK, 2017, and Stuttgart Film Winter Festival for Expanded Media, Firstdraft Sydney, and Vitalstatistix, Adelaide.


4A Beijing Studio Program 2019 is supported by ArtChain Global. 
In 2019, for the first time, this special 4A initiative is being supported by ArtChain Global, a new platform working at the intersection of blockchain technology and contemporary art. With ArtChain Global’s generous support, we are able to amplify opportunities for artists to explore the region.

2019 4A Emerging Writer’s Recipients Announced

4A is pleased to announce that the 4A Emerging Writer’s Program 2019 program recipient is studio artist, independent writer and children’s author Matt Chun. Chun will be travelling to Indonesia in 2019 and realise two publication outcomes.

Matt Chun’s successful application to the 4A Emerging Writer’s Program offered two writing proposals that demonstrated diversity in subjects. The first centres around nationalism and the colonisation/decolonisation of public space, specifically taking the historic square of Lapangan Banteng in Jakarta as a site for a discussion of the layered semiotics of monuments erected in the eras of Dutch colonial rule and post-independence Indonesia. Matt’s second proposal will see him engage with fellow artist Jumaadi’s practice within the context of the latter’s East Javanese exploration of the narrative traditions of the region, specifically his ongoing presence within communities of artists around Yogyakarta.

4A Program Manager and Editor of the 4A PapersPedro de Almeida said of the award and Chun’s success: 

“4A’s Emerging Writer’s Program, offered for the fourth consecutive year, attracted proposals from NSW, ACT, VIC and WA. The diversity of creative and professional backgrounds of applicants reflected the spirit of 4A’s professional development program as an opportunity for a broad scope of creators to engage with the arts and culture of the region. Writing proposals came from artists, curators, cultural producers, filmmakers, performers, students and, of course, emerging writers ranging from critics to poets. With Indonesia as the focus country this time round, 4A was particularly impressed by the overall depth of understanding. We congratulate Matt Chun on being selected in 2019 to undertake research in Jakarta and Yogyakarta for what promises to be two engaging original texts for publication in 4A Papers and Art Monthly Australasia.”

2019 4A Emerging Writer’s judge Anne Loxley, Senior Curator, C3West, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia said:

“Matt Chun’s proposal stood out for the originality, maturity and sophistication of his pitch to research and write about Lapangan Banteng in central Jakarta, using the monument as a means of centring a critical discussion around the colonisation/decolonisation of public space. Similarly, his second proposal to write about Jumaadi’s practice specifically within the context of his East Javanese arts community, craft practices and
narrative traditions of the region offers a refreshing attempt to situate a well-known Sydney-based artist in broader cultural relationships.”

2019 Emerging Writer’s Program judge and Art Monthly Australasia Editor, Micheal Fitzgerald, said:

“It is a pleasure continuing Art Monthly Australasia’s support for 4A’s Emerging Writer’s Program given its value in supporting writers to undertake field work in the region. Matt Chun’s submission
struck me as particularly original in its culturally nuanced approach. We look forward to working with Matt to develop his proposal for publication.”

About Matt Chun: 

Matt Chun is a studio artist, independent writer and children’s author, working from his seaside studio in Bermagui, a small town on Yuin country in regional NSW. He also divides his time between Melbourne and Taipei. Matt lives, works and travels with his 8-year-old son, making portrait, landscape and travelogue studies across a range of media. He has undertaken tenures as artist-in-residence in Australian at Casula Powerhouse, Nishi Gallery and New Acton Precinct, and in Taiwan at both Bamboo Curtain Studio and Guandu International Art Festival. His first Taiwanese solo exhibition will be held at Pon Ding Space, Taipei, in September. As a writer, Matt is primarily interested in Australian national identity and the visual culture of colonisation, combining first-person narrative reportage with field research into the semiotics of public space. His essays have appeared in Overland Literary Journal, Meanjin Quarterly and Runway Experimental Art. Matt’s second picture book for Australian publisher Little Hare is due for release in October. His first, Australian Birds, released in 2018, has been listed as a Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book and is currently shortlisted for the CBCA Award for Best New Illustrator. He is currently working on a graphic novel for young children.

Announcement // 4A Centre saddened by the loss of Chair, Edmund Capon, OBE, AM

March 18, 2019.


It is with great sadness that we note the loss of Edmund Capon OBE, AM, who has passed away in London.

Edmund Capon was a stalwart of Sydney’s art world and his passion, intelligence and sharp wit is remembered by all that had the opportunity to work with him and around him. Over the past four years Edmund has been the Chair of the 4A Board and has revitalised the organisation with his contagious energy and deep understanding of Australia’s relationship with Asia. During this period, he has reaffirmed the organisation’s commitment to fieldwork, research and scholarly pursuits while also demonstrating an unwavering commitment to artists and their artistic processes.

The Board and team at 4A are deeply saddened by the loss of our fearless leader but are most upset by the loss of our friend. Above all Edmund was a great supporter of us all in our work endeavours and our lives at home. On every occasion he made the workplace a fun and rigorously challenging place to be.

‘We are devastated to have lost Edmund, our endlessly inspiring colleague, who has done so much for Australia’s engagement and understanding of Asian art and culture. We are only just beginning to understand the extent of the wonderful legacy that he has left. I am also devastated to have lost such a great friend and mentor. Edmund will remain an important person to both 4A and myself for a very long time to come.’ – Mikala Tai, Director 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art


‘Edmund’s vision, that of Australia’s proximity to Asia preceded well before the founding of 4A; we are so grateful as a board to have benefited from his deep knowledge and guidance over the years that he was chair. He shall be greatly missed.  The Board and wider 4A Family send their love to Joanna and the Capon family on their loss of such a great and loved man.’ – John Young, Board Member 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Messages of condolences can be sent to:

2017 4A Beijing Studio Program Recipients Announced

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to announce the participants of the 2017 4A Beijing Studio Program.

Tane Andrews (NSW), Nathan Beard (WA) and Caroline Garcia (NSW) have been selected to embark on a month-long residency in September 2017 at the studios of renowned Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin.

The Beijing Studio Program is now in its fifth year of operation. It provides early and mid career Australian artists with a unique opportunity to research new projects, develop new professional networks and witness first-hand the changes occurring in one of the most vibrant cities in Asia.

Tane Andrews, Nathan Beard and Caroline Garcia were selected by a committee comprising Sue Acret, 4A Board Member and Co-Founder, ArtAsia Advisory; Dr Dick Quan, collector and 4A Patron; Beau Neilson, The Neilson Foundation; Lisa Catt, Assistant Curator Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of NSW; Louise Joel, 4A Set Member; Luisa Catanzaro, Artereal Gallery Founder, Director and Owner.

Andrews, Beard and Garcia were selected based on the strength of their applications, the potential benefits for their practices and capacity to extend their own cross-cultural networks.

2017 4A Beijing Studio Program Judge Luisa Catanzaro said of selecting the participants list:

“… [I] struggled to limit it at that as it was such a varied and strong list of artists and ideas to select from.”


4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Director, Mikala Tai, said of the 2017 artists’ selection:

“It is always so exciting to see the depth and breath of contemporary Australian practice and to see so many of our artists eager to engage with Asia. It was an extremely competitive year and we are delighted to be supporting Tane, Nathan and Caroline as they embark on an important career-making experience. “

4A’s Beijing Studio Program will give these young artists a fantastic opportunity to place their practices within a much broader international art context in a city such as Beijing. The Program covers airfares, accommodation, daily meals, travel/medical insurance and a small stipend. Moreover, it will provide an ongoing professional mentorship, cross-cultural exchange and access to 4A’s networks in China.

Andrews, Beard and Garcia will travel to China in September 2017.


Tane Andrews is a visual artist based in Sydney.

His practice aims to explore transience, transformations, and hybridisations within the natural world.
Andrews’ works are a considered exploration, one that involves ritual, repetition, process and a demand for meaningful contemplation.

In 2007 he completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at Curtin University with First Class Honours, Perth. Since then Andrews has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout Australia and internationally. In 2014 he was awarded a residency at Sydney’s Artspace, and in 2015 was included in the exhibition DeMonstrable, curated by SymbioticA Director Oron Catts.


Nathan Beard (b.1987) is Perth-based interdisciplinary artist who works across mediums including photography, video and sculpture. His practice is primarily concerned with the influences of culture, memory and biography, in particular through the prism of his Thai-Australian heritage. Beard’s work often includes intimate and sincere engagements with family to poignantly explore the complex ways a sense of heritage and identity is negotiated.

Beard holds a Bachelor of Arts (Art) with First Class Honours from Curtin University. Exhibitions include Hatched, PICA (2008), Memento Mori, Lawrence Wilson Gallery (2014), Obitus, Moana Project Space (2014), Ad Matres, Artereal Gallery (2015), Future Archaeology, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (2015), Radical Ecologies, PICA (2016), Alone and Palely Loitering, Firstdraft (2017) and WA Focus: Nathan Beard, Art Gallery of Western Australia (2017). In 2017 Beard was shortlisted as a finalist for the John Stringer Prize. His collaboration with artists Abdul Abdullah and Casey Ayres, The Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, was presented at the NGV Studio for the 2012 Next Wave Festival the space between us wants to sing.


Caroline Garcia (Sydney, NSW) is a culturally promiscuous, performance maker. She works across live performance and video through a hybridised aesthetic of cross-cultural dance, ritual practice, new media, and the
sampling of popular culture and colonial imagery.
Caroline’s practice is shaped by alterity, echoing notions of cultural ambiguity and displacement by adopting the role of shape shifter – sliding into the gaps between cultures, experiences of otherness, and timeless clichés of exotic femininity. She is concerned with forgotten choreographies, alternate ways of viewing images of the past that eschew classical myths, and the mimetic capacities of the Filipina.
Caroline has presented at Underbelly Arts Festival, Channels: The Australian Video Art Festival, Proximity Festival, Junction Arts Festival, AGNSW, Art Month Sydney, and PACT, among others. She has exhibited at the ACMI, CCP, The Substation, Firstdraft, Sydney Contemporary, The Sydney Film Festival Hub and UTS ART. Caroline is currently developing a new interdisciplinary work called Flygirl, as part of The EMPAC Residency in New York, facilitated by Australia Council for the Arts.


Over the last twenty years Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin has forged an important international career with an emphasis on experimental, conceptual and installation works. Based in Beijing, and having spent over a decade in Australia, Shen’s work spans a number of medium and explores individual and collective experiences of humanity and their impacts on our natural and constructed surroundings. Shen Shaomin has previously exhibited with 4A in The Floating Eye, Sydney Pavilion, 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012); and presented the solo exhibition, The Day After Tomorrow (2011). His work has been included in Liverpool Biennial (2006) and the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010) and most recently featured as part of Busan Biennale 2016 and at Encounters, Art Basel Hong Kong 2017. In China he has exhibited at Today Art Museum, Beijing; Tang Contemporary, Beijing; Platform China, Beijing; Shanghai Zendai MoMA, Shanghai; and Osage Gallery, Hong Kong. Across Europe and North America selected exhibitions include, Groniger Museum, Holland; Urs Meile Gallery, Switzerland; ZKM Museum Karlrusche, Germany; Millennium Park, Chicago and Eli Klein Fine Art, New York.




Images, l to r: Caroline Garcia, Thoughtless Extravagance, dimensions variable, installation at Firstdraft Gallery, 2016. Image, Zan Wimberley.;  Tane Andrews: Untitled (Perfect Lovers). Sterling silver, living monarch pupa, wood. Dimensions variable, duration: 7 days. 2016.; Nathan Beard: Rampai/Samniang/Ratana/Pornjit 2014-17, Digital print on Canson Baryta, Swarovski Elements. Detail of print, 35.5 x 48cm. From the series Ad Matres. Edition 2 of 5 unique prints. Photo credit: Casey Ayres.

4A Emerging Writer’s Program – 2017

4A is pleased to announce that the 4A Emerging Writer’s Program 2017 program recipient is Mitana Arbon, current Honours student in Asian Studies at ANU. Mitiana will be travelling to Samoa in late 2017 to undertake research and build engagement with local artistic communities in Upolu and Savai’i.

Mitiana Arbon is an Honours student at the School of Culture, History, and Language at the Australian National University. His research thesis examines how institutions curate and articulate an understanding of the Pacific as a cohesive art region through art. It draws upon a case study of the Pacific Collection at the National Gallery of Australia examining how its narrow curatorial focus on ‘traditional’ art pieces as reflective of Pacific Cultures, has limited a broader creative and aesthetic understanding of the current reality of multi-sited and diverse contemporary community practices.

Mitiana has a wide range of creative and personal interests in the Pacific region that stems from his dual academic engagement with the Pacific and his Samoan family, from the village of Tafua tai, Savai’i. He is also a Research Officer on Labour Mobility and Migration at the Development Policy Centre and an avid blogger on Pacific topics. His research interests include contemporary regional issues of development, politics, social change and heritage management.

4A Program Manager and Editor of the 4A Papers, Pedro de Almeida says,

“In its second year, 4A’s Emerging Writer’s Program attracted applicants from New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. This year the Program was offered to emerging writers who are also current tertiary students at honours and postgraduate level. Additionally, in 2017 4A decided to put a focus on facilitating writers’ engagement with Pacific nations, cultures and artists. Applicants came from a variety of research areas including arts, art history, curatorial studies and Asian studies. 4A was impressed that the majority of the applicants had demonstrated a keen interest in and knowledge of the region, proposing fieldwork in Hawai’i, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu with subjects ranging from the development of private collections and museums to the visual culture that emanates from Vanuatu’s reggae music scene.”

2017 Emerging Writer’s Program judge Lisa McDonald (Associate Curator, Human History (Maori and Pacific) at Canterbury Museum and Adjunct Fellow with the School of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Canterbury) said:

“Mitiana’s project reflects his deep commitment to the field of Pacific studies. His proposal was of the highest merit and clearly demonstrated his academic engagement with current research methodologies. Privileging the agency of indigenous artists based in Samoa, his project will no doubt provide insightful analysis of the creative practices of contemporary makers. I congratulate Mitiana on his award and wish him every future success in both his professional and personal pursuits.”

Art Monthly Australasia Editor and 2017 Emerging Writer’s Program judge, Micheal Fitzgerald, said:

Art Monthly Australasia is excited to be involved again with the 4A Emerging Writer’s Program, inaugurated last year with the ‘Sea Pearl White Cloud’ project in Guangzhou, and commends this year’s initiative in sending an emerging writer into the Pacific. Mitiana’s winning submission to conduct research with a number of contemporary artists based in Samoa was a stand-out proposal and promises to deepen this important new engagement with the region.”

About the judging panel:

Michael Fitzgerald was the arts editor for the South Pacific edition of Time magazine (1997-2007) before becoming managing editor of Art & Australia (2008-12) and helping relaunch Photofile magazine for the Australian Centre for Photography in 2013. He has been editor of Art Monthly Australasia since 2014.

Dr Lisa McDonald is Associate Curator, Human History (Maori and Pacific) at Canterbury Museum and Adjunct Fellow with the School of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Canterbury. Her research focuses on contemporary art from Melanesia, with emphasis on makers based in Port Vila and Port Moresby.

Pedro de Almeida is an arts manager, curator and writer, joining 4A as Program Manager in 2012. Over the past decade he has developed and delivered a broad range of artistic and cultural projects in partnership with local and international organisations that have been distinguished by their engagement with culturally and socially diverse artists, communities and audiences.


DEADLINE:                Friday 30 June 2017

TRAVEL DATES:       September 2017   


Following the inaugural offering in 2016, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to announce the 4A Emerging Writer’s Program that will support an emerging Australian writer to travel to the Pacific in September 2017 to realise two publication outcomes.

The 4A Emerging Writer’s Program is open to Australian students currently undertaking a degree at honours or postgraduate level in art, history or related fields of study at an Australian tertiary institution. This program will be rigorous and is specifically designed for tertiary students with a keen interest in fieldwork research in art and culture, and someone who can demonstrate a flair and passion for writing.

The selected writer will undertake a one-week research trip to a Pacific nation in September 2017. Facilitated by 4A and its networks, the writer will be asked to conceive and deliver two writing outcomes for publication in 4A Papers and Program supporter Art Monthly Australasia. This may include a critical essay, historical research, interview, review, profile, or feature with accompanying online audio-visual content.

The writer will be supported by the team at 4A and in particular by Pedro de Almeida, Editor, 4A Papers and Michael Fitzgerald, Editor, Art Monthly Australasia.

The 4A Emerging Writer’s Program has been developed as part of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s broader professional development program for early career arts professionals. Together with the annual 4A Beijing Studio Program and the biannual 4A Curators’ Intensive, the 4A Emerging Writer’s Program supports emerging Australian talent to work within the Asia-Pacific region.


The 4A Emerging Writer’s Program has been made possible with the support of 4A Patrons Richard Funston & Kiong Lee.



Applications open:                   Monday 3 April 2017

Sydney Info Night:                  Friday 26 May 2017 – RSVP here.

Applications close:                  Friday 30 June 2017 (5.00pm)

Samoa travel dates:                September 2017

(exact dates of one-week itinerary to be determined in consultation with 4A).



The selected writer must be:

  • Over the age of 18 years.
  • An Australian citizen or permanent resident who is enrolled in a degree at honours or postgraduate level in art, history or related fields of study at an Australian tertiary institution at the time of application.
  • The definition of “emerging” is a writer who has not previously published more than 12 texts in any subject, in print or online (blogs or self-published platforms excluded).

4A will provide the selected writer with:

  • Return airfare from the recipient’s nearest state capital city to chosen Pacific nation.
  • Accommodation, per diems and travel insurance for the period of the trip.
  • An honourarium.

To apply, submit a single PDF document including:

  • A Cover Page with your name, address, phone number, email address and evidence of current tertiary enrolment (student ID card or similar).
  • A Letter of Intent addressing your interest in participating in the Program, articulating your specific area of interest in the Pacific and which nation you propose to travel to; how it will be beneficial to you; and how it will contribute to the development of your research and writing practice. Maximum one page.
  • A Statement that outlines your current writing or research focuses and interests. Maximum one page.
  • A CV illustrating relevant study and work experience, previously published texts, personal projects and achievements. Maximum one page.
  • A Writing Sample of up to 1,000 words (this can be unpublished and preferably in a professional writing style rather than academic in tone).
  • A Proposed Collection of Writings that you would produce as part of this project. Maximum one page.
  • Shortlisted writers will be asked to provide evidence of Australian permanent residency status, current enrolment at honours or postgraduate level at an Australian tertiary institution, and date of birth.


Applications should be submitted via email, post or in person to:

Pedro de Almeida

Program Manager / Editor, 4A Papers

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art


In person: 181-187 Hay Street, Haymarket, NSW 2000

Post: PO Box K1312, Haymarket NSW 1240



Applications closed 5.00PM Friday 30 June 2017.

Applications were assessed by a panel and the selected writer notified within two weeks following the submission deadline.


If you have any questions in relation to the program or how to apply please contact Pedro de Almeida on (02) 9212 0380 or


The 4A Emerging Writer’s Program is supported by Art Monthly Australasia, and made possible with the generous support of 4A Patrons Richard Funston & Kiong Lee.



Image: Observation Society from the street during the install of Sea Pearl White Cloud, part of the 2016 4A Emerging Writers Program, May 2016. Photo: Pedro de Almeida.

Over two weeks spanning late May and early June 2016, Minerva Inwald, 4A’s 2016 Emerging Writers Program participant, traveled to Guangzhou, China, to experience the lead up to Sea Pearl White Cloud 海珠白雲, a collaborative two-stage exhibition project produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and local independent contemporary art space, Observation Society, that saw presentations in Guangzhou and Sydney. Sea Pearl White Cloud presented new works by Australian artist Lucas Ihlein and Hong Kong-based artist Trevor Yeung that are informed by questions of temporality, exchange and poetics while reflecting on the urban condition in the twenty-first century. Read her piece for the 4A Papers here.



4A Beijing Studio Program – 2017 call for applications

Applications have now closed for the 2017 edition of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s annual Beijing Studio Program.


DEADLINE:                5PM, Monday May 8 2017

TRAVEL DATES:      Tuesday, 12 September – Friday, 13 October, 2017



The program allows three early career artists will undertake a one month-long intensive studio program throughout September 2017 at the studios of internationally renowned Chinese-Australian, artist Shen Shaomin located in Huairou District on the outskirts of Beijing.

4A’s Beijing Studio Program provides a unique opportunity for these artists to research new projects, develop new professional networks and witness first-hand the changes occurring in one of the most vibrant cities in Asia. The program includes return airfares, accommodation, travel stipend and travel/medical insurance.

Applications have now closed and were due by 5PM AEST Monday May 8, 2017.



Over the last twenty years Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin has forged an important international career with an emphasis on experimental, conceptual and installation works. Based in Beijing, and having spent over a decade in Australia, Shen’s work spans a number of medium and explores individual and collective experiences of humanity and their impacts on our natural and constructed surroundings. Shen Shaomin has previously exhibited with 4A in The Floating Eye, Sydney Pavilion, 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012); and presented the solo exhibition, The Day After Tomorrow (2011). His work has been included in Liverpool Biennial (2006) and the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010) and most recently featured as part of Busan Biennale 2016 and at Encounters, Art Basel Hong Kong 2017. In China he has exhibited at Today Art Museum, Beijing; Tang Contemporary, Beijing; Platform China, Beijing; Shanghai Zendai MoMA, Shanghai; and Osage Gallery, Hong Kong. Across Europe and North America selected exhibitions include, Groniger Museum, Holland; Urs Meile Gallery, Switzerland; ZKM Museum Karlrusche, Germany; Millennium Park, Chicago and Eli Klein Fine Art, New York.

The Program covers airfares, accommodation, daily meals, travel/medical insurance and a small stipend. Moreover, it will provide an ongoing professional mentorship, cross-cultural exchange and access to 4A’s networks in China.


Application Guidelines


Applications are open to visual artists who are Australian permanent residents. We are looking for strongly emerging or midcareer artists’ who will will benefit from the professional mentorship, dialogue and bonding between residents, cross cultural exchange and access to 4A’s networks in China.

Successful applicants will be chosen based on the quality of their past work, reasons for participation, viability of their participation and the potential benefits to the applicant’s artistic development.

Decisions will be made by an independent panel and all decisions are final.

Please submit support material which has been completed in the last two years.



Successful artists must be available for travel to Beijing, for one month beginning from Tuesday, 12 September – Friday, 13 October, 2017.  Dates are non-negotiable. All three selected artists will be travelling at the same time.



To apply for the 4A Beijing Residency Program please download a copy of the application form and include the following:

  • A statement of interest detailing why you would like to participate in the Studio Program and how you will benefit from the experience. Maximum 1 page, 12 point font.
  • A current CV. Maximum 1 page.
  • Support material in the format of a PDF document with 10 images and captions. Please supply video content as a URL web link (10 minutes max).

Please do not send us original material as it will not be returned.



Please supply images in PDF at 72-dpi res with your application. Please include captions and explanations where appropriate. Please do not send individual files.

Video material must be uploaded to a website and URL should be supplied for viewing.



Accommodation and facilities are housed in Shen Shaomin’s studio, 52km from Beijing city center (approximately 60 mins drive). These are newly built residences. The studio will provide daily meals in addition to a program’s stipend. A driver/translator available for a limited number of days to explore surrounding artists’ studio, galleries and other locations.

Chinese language skills are not necessary.



  • Artists are responsible for obtaining necessary visas for entry into China and appropriate travel/medical insurance.
  • Artists are responsible for any excess baggage or freight to/from the Studio Program.
  • Artists will be asked to sign an agreement that outlines the terms of the Program and their travel.
  • Upon returning, artists will be required to take part in a public discussion about their trips.


Enquiries and applications should be directed to:

Micheal Do

Assistant Curator

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Phone: +61 2 9212 0380



Studio Information Nights:

Join one of our Studio Information Nights to meet with 4A staff to learn more about the 4A Beijing Studio Program, and ask any questions you may have about the Program.


6-7PM, Wednesday April 26

Guest speaker: Justin Shoulder

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 181-187 Hay St Haymarket, Sydney. Click here to RSVP.


6.30-7.30PM, Thursday April 27

Guest speaker: Eugenia Lim

Bus Projects, Melbourne CBD. Click here to RSVP.


6-7pm, Wednesday 3 May

Guest Speaker: Abdul Rahman Abdullah

Moana, Perth WA. Click here to RSVP. 

4A 2016 Fundraiser Auction open now

This month marks the 20th anniversary of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Over the last two decades 4A has carved a place for Asian-Australian artistic voices and celebrated Australia’s dynamic and diverse engagement with Asia.

Celebrate the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s 20th anniversary and support our future work by bidding on works by the likes of Shaun Gladwell, Guo Jian, Anida Yeou Ali, and Chen Qiulin. Proceeds support our efforts to foster excellence and innovation in contemporary Asian and Australian culture. 

Our 4A 2016 Fundraiser Auction is now open. Bidding closes 6PM AEDT, on 6 November 2016.

Click here to view all works available and place your bids now. 

Image: Guan Wei, The Classic of the Mountains and Seas, 2012. Silkscreen. Courtesy the artist. Available for purchase as part of the 4A 2016 Fundraiser Auction.
Auction powered by Paddle8, the online auction house.



2016 4A Curators’ Intensive & Beijing Studio Program Recipients Announced

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to announce the participants of both the 2016 Beijing Studio Program and the 2016 4A Curators’ Intensive.


Both programs are designed to support emerging arts professionals in their respective fields by providing them with opportunities to connect and interact with practicing professionals in both Australia and Asia.

Programs such as these further reaffirms 4A’s distinctive approach to addressing Australia’s cultural diversity through a dynamic program including local and international exhibitions, public programs, workshops, seminars, symposiums and community activities.


Beijing Studio Program

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah (WA), Eugenia Lim (VIC), and Justin Shoulder (NSW) have been selected to embark on a month-long residency at the studios of renowned Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin.

The Beijing Studio Program is now in its fifth year of operation. It provides early and mid career Australian artists with a valuable opportunity to research new projects in rich cultural surroundings, build professional networks and observe the changes taking place in one of the most important cities in Asia.

Abdul Rahmen Abdullah, Eugenia Lim and Justin Shoulder were selected by a committee comprising Sue Acret, 4A Board Member and Co-Founder, ArtAsia Advisory; Professor Colin Rhodes, Dean, Sydney College of the Arts, and Toby Chapman, Creative Producer, Information & Cultural Exchange.

Abdullah, Lim and Shoulder were selected based on the strength of their applications, the potential benefits for their practices and capacity to extend their own cross-cultural networks.

Sue Acret said of Abdul-Rahman Abdullah:

“The 4A Beijing Studio Residency Program offers Abdul-Rahman Abdullah the opportunity to explore a new mode of family and artistic life in the studio of Shen Shaomin. Although Abdullah’s artistic preoccupations are born out of the cultural and familial roots of his Malay-Australian Muslim heritage, they are universal in their commentary on the dialogue between the animal/natural world and the cultural/human one. The residency also presents a great opportunity for Abdullah to investigate new modes of art making and possibilities for collaboration.”

Professor Rhodes said of Eugenia Lim:

Eugenia Lim has seized the moment and brought her practice front and centre. She has conceived a project that will make the most of a residency in Shen Shaomin’s studio and which, I suspect, will be impactful in China as well as here in Australia. Lim’s art is wise and arresting; two qualities that will only grow further out of this opportunity.”

Toby Chapman said of Justin Shoulder:

Justin Shoulder’s application was outstanding and illustrated clear benefits of time spent at the studios of Shen Shaomin. His current area of research and previous projects illustrate interesting alignments and intersections with contemporary practices in China as well as traditional forms of knowledge sharing and storytelling.”

4A’s Beijing Studio Program will give these young artists a fantastic opportunity to place their practices within a much broader international art context in a city such as Beijing.

Abdullah, Lim and Shoulder will travel to China in September 2016.


4A Curators’ Intensive

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to be hosting the third iteration of the 4A Curators’ Intensive supported by Copyright Agency Cultural Fund

This biannual initiative is a week-long intensive program facilitated by leading international curators, Carol Yinghua Lu (Beijing, China) Zarmeené Shah (Karachi, Pakistan) and Pooja Sood (Delhi, India). Along with 4A Director Mikala Tai and Casula Powerhouse Art Centre’s Creative Producer Community Cultural Engagement Khaled Sabsabi. These international curators will host a week of workshops, artists’ studio visits and discussions that seek to encourage the next generation of Australian curators to create sustainable working methodologies that extend between Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

4A’s Director Mikala Tai says:

“This program is a significant investment in the professional development of our future curatorial talent. The opportunity for them to work with leading curators from the Asia-Pacific throughout a demanding and rigorous week is unrivalled. We hope that at the end of the intensive that the manner in which they approach the act of exhibition making will have been extended and expanded.”

From a highly competitive pool of applicants from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia, the following 11 curators will participate in the 2016 4A Curators’ Intensive:

Hanann Al Daqqa (VIC)

Joanna Bayndrian (NSW)

Micheal Do (NSW)

Alana Hunt (WA)

Anabelle Lacroix (VIC)

Luke Letourneau (NSW)

Melissa McGrath (SA)

Laura McLean (NSW)

Adam Porter (NSW)

Talia Smith (NSW)

Amelia Wallin (NSW)

In addition to the closed program of 4A Curators’ Intensive designed for the participants, the three international curators will present keynotes at 4A. Open to the public, these talks focus on each curator’s current work and the curatorial context, art histories and cultural climates in which there are working. Book early to secure your place.

Carol Yinghua Lu

Revisits and Thick Description – Critical Reflections of Art Historical Narratives in the Post-Seclusion Era in China through Exhibition-Making. 

Seclusion (closed-door) policy has been employed by various Chinese governments in the recent history of China. Only during the Qing Dynasty, a generation of progressive thinkers and intellectuals introduced the notion of China as a nation state in the perception of its relationship to the rest of the world and in the field of history writing. In order to prevent the unorthodox ideas and cut off the outside forces, which interfered its authority, the Qing Administration implemented the seclusion policy, which had brought about serious consequences. Following the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 by the Communist Party, closed-door policy has been mobilized to various degrees over various periods, particularly during the Cultural Revolution, to cut off all diplomatic ties from the rest of the world, suspending exchanges in terms of economy, politics, culture and science, to assert nationalism and assure the unquestioned and unchallenged authority of the government.

More than three decades have passed since the end of the Cultural Revolution and China has been ushered into what can be considered “post-seclusion”, a term proposed by artist Liu Ding based on his observation and investigation into the contemporary ideology of the general public in China. In collaboration with Liu Ding, I have been working on researches concerning the recent history of art, especially on the critical issues in the broader context of the intellectual, political, social and revolutionary histories that inform and shape our sense of art history, the basis for our artistic practice and discourse in China. We have attempted to combine historic research and exhibition making in the field of contemporary art practice, envisioning and discovering connected links between historic events to contemporary thinking and practice. In this talk, I will elaborate on two examples of our collaborative curatorial practice: From the Issue of Art to the Issue of Position: Echoes of Socialist Realism and New Measurement Group and Qian Weikang: Two Case Studies of Conceptual Art Practice in the Early 1990s, and discuss how we employ the medium of exhibition with specific approaches as a means of historic research and reconsideration.

Monday 27 June, 6.30 FREE.  Book now.

Zarmeené Shah

The Karachi Biennale: A Case Study in Alternative Sites of Exchange

Taking the upcoming inaugural Karachi Biennale in 2017 as model, this talk opens up possibilities of how one begins to formulate ways of anchoring the ideas and dialogues generated in contemporary practices from Pakistan and around. Focusing on the biennale’s thematic of Witness, Shah discusses curatorial approaches and strategies geared towards the unpacking of a layered conceptual framework, highly relevant to this historically and geopolitically charged region, that looks at ideas of the personal and the political (geo/socio/religio), of memories and histories (written, unwritten, rewritten), and of investigations of the urban, the city of Karachi, within which many artistic practices find themselves entrenched. With a lack of state support and of many formal institutional structures and spaces, this presentation also raises questions of art in alternative/public space and takes into consideration issues of articulation, dissemination, audience and engagement. In such places, how must the roles of curators, artists, institutions and individuals shift in order to meet the challenges of a burgeoning art industry and evolving art practices that do not find Western institutional, critical and infrastructural models at their heart? As co-curator of the exhibition, Shah looks at the biennale as a site of exchange, investigating the possibilities, potentials and impacts of this large-scale, inaugural international art event for the city where it is to be located, the country, and for the region at large.

Tuesday 28 June, 6.30 FREE. Book Now.

Pooja Sood

Wednesday 29 June, 6.30 FREE. Book Now.


Image: Justin Shoulder. Courtesy of the artist


4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to announce Minerva Inwald as the recipient of the inaugural 4A Emerging Writer’s Project.

Ahead of the November 2016 launch of the online publication The 4A Papers, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is supporting an Australian emerging writer to participate in Sea Pearl White Cloud, a collaborative two-stage exhibition project between 4A and independent Guangzhou contemporary art space Observation Society that will open on 2 June 2016.

Selected by a panel comprising Michael Fitzgerald, Editor, Art Monthly Australasia; Luise Guest, Director of Education and Research, White Rabbit Collection; and Pedro de Almeida, 4A Program Manager and Editor of The 4A Papers, Minerva will be an integral part of 4A’s project team, travelling to Guangzhou to undertake fieldwork as Observation Society’s exhibition unfolds, and later the exhibition in Sydney at 4A. Her research will see the publication of two critical texts that document the development, realisation and reception of the exhibitions, along with interviews with the artists and ongoing online content.

Pedro de Almeida says, “4A’s inaugural Emerging Writer’s Project attracted application from writers from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. The range of educational, professional and artistic backgrounds from the applicants was also diverse with, for example, some writers having arts journalism experience, while others forging more experimental writing forms through artist-run platforms. 4A looks forward to offering more professional development and publishing opportunities for writers as we establish The 4A Papers later this year.”

Michael Fitzgerald says, “Minerva’s submission was outstanding. Her ongoing historical research in China as a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, and her broader interest in how art objects circulate in the public and private spheres places her as a perfect candidate to contribute meaningfully and intelligently to this unique cross-cultural project.”

Luise Guest remarks, “Minerva’s application was outstanding in a range of ways. Firstly, her recognition that she aims to broaden her critical writing style beyond the constraints of academic writing was refreshing. Her background in carrying out art historical research on the ground in China, at the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), using primary sources, and dealing with the complexities of dealing with a Chinese institution, will clearly be an advantage in quickly assessing the possibilities on the ground in Guangzhou. Her obvious level of fluency in Chinese (Mandarin) will also be an asset to the project. Minerva’s current doctoral research is both interesting and relevant, relating to curatorial practices, museology and the circulation of objects and artefacts. I particularly liked her thoughtful (and highly topical) plan for an extended contemplative essay reflecting on the notion of ‘southern-ness’, and how that plays out in the relationship between the sister cities of Sydney and Guangzhou. Her sample of writing – an extract from a conference paper – indicated her clarity of thought and expression, and her willingness to push against the conventional boundaries of a discipline (in this instance, historical research) indicating the potential for some innovative texts and other modes of communication emerging from the collaboration in Guangzhou.”

Sea Pearl White Cloud is supported by the City of Sydney with the Observation Society exhibition opening being part of the official program of the City of Sydney and Guangzhou Municipal Government’s civic celebrations as part the 30th anniversary of their sister-city relationship. Additionally, the Emerging Writer’s Project is supported by Art Monthly Australasia.

Minerva Inwald is a current PhD candidate in the Department of History, University of Sydney, whose research focuses on the history of the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) between 1958 and 1989. Using Chinese-language primary sources to examine how exhibitions at this prestigious space were used to communicate ideas about the role of art in China in relation to conceptions of ‘the people,’ her research seeks to investigate broader questions of how art objects circulate in museum contexts, as well as outside museums such as in domestic, work and public spheres. Minerva graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Languages) Honours degree from the University of Sydney in 2012, and in the same year was awarded the Francis Stuart Prize for Asian Art History form the Department of Art History. She has contributed a number of papers at academic conferences in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and recently undertook an 8-month postgraduate exchange program at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts.


Australian War Memorial Gillespie Bequest

Image: Dacchi Dang, The Boat, 2001, installation view, Gallery 4A, 26 October – 17 November 2001. Courtesy the artist. Photo: 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is delighted to announce its partnership with the Australian War Memorial and its commissioning of Vietnamese-Australian artist Dacchi Dang to create new works that respond to the Vietnamese-Australian perspective on the Vietnam War.

In 2012 a bequest to purchase works of art was left to the Australian War Memorial by the retired Major John Milton Gillespie, a Vietnam veteran and immigration consultant. In recognition of both this significant gift and Mr Gillespie’s life and work, the Memorial decided to use the bequest to commission work that explores the wartime experience of Vietnamese–Australians and its legacy today. As a result, in 2015 the Australian War Memorial engaged 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art to assist in undertaking extensive national research for The Gillespie Bequest. Curators from the Memorial and 4A collaborated to identify contemporary artists living and working in Australia who deal with Vietnamese-Australian narratives.

The Australian War Memorial announced today that it has commissioned Sydney-based artist Dacchi Dang to create new work, a welcome contribution that will help address the gap in the Memorial’s collection as the Vietnamese-Australian perspective on the Vietnam War has been under represented. Dang’s creative process and research-based methods will be the subject of a short documentary produced by 4A.

4A Director Mikala Tai says, “We are delighted to be working with the Australian War Memorial on what is an initiative of historical importance, the commissioning of artworks for this significant national collection that, for the first time, will address Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War from an Australian-Vietnamese perspective. The selection of Dacchi Dang by the Australian War Memorial is especially heartening given Dacchi’s reputation as a preeminent Vietnamese-Australian artist working over the past few decades.”

“We are also proud of Dacchi’s long involvement with 4A, beginning with his role as a founding artist when he was invited by 4A’s founding director, Melissa Chiu, to join the management committee of 4A in its first year of exhibiting in 1997. In addition, Dacchi’s seminal solo exhibition The Boat, presented at 4A in 2001, remains a milestone in the development of the wider public reception and understanding of art from Asian-Australian perspectives, attracting a queue around the block on its final exhibition day, such was the community response to a work that spoke of the perils of seeking asylum while also provoking the audience to project their personal histories into the installation’s abstract narrative. More recently, 4A in partnership with Campbelltown Arts Centre worked with Dacchi over three-years as part of Edge of Elsewhere (2010-2012), a major project that commissioned new works from Dachhi produced with community participation.”

“4A looks forward to working closely with the artist and the Memorial’s curatorial team as we document the creative development and unveiling of Dacchi’s work over the coming year.”

More detail on the Australian War Memorial’s announcement of The Gillepsie Bequest and Dacchi Dang can be viewed here

Dacchi Dang (image courtesy of the artist)

Dacchi Dang was born in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1966 to a Chinese father and Vietnamese mother. At the age of sixteen Dang fled Vietnam with his brother and sister on a fishing boat. After a traumatic sea voyage the boat arrived on Malaysian shores where Dang was transported to the refugee camp of Pulau Bidong. After spending nine months at the camp, Dang was transported to Kuala Lumpur where he was accepted as a Vietnamese refugee by Australia in late 1982.

Dacchi Dang works primarily with photography and printmaking, in various forms and processes, and also installation. His work examines the ‘liminal’ spaces of the Vietnamese-Australian experience, racial diaspora, nature, cultural identity, the refugee experience and self-identity. As a result of his personal experience as a displaced refugee, Dang has a unique understanding of the geographical and social landscapes of both Australia and Vietnam, often creating and reinventing physical and social landscapes by reflecting on his ‘self’ in relation to the location and concept of ‘home’. He did not return to his home country until 1994.

His work has been exhibited in Australia and internationally since the early 1990s. Solo exhibitions include The Land of Golden Shadow (2016), Le Malamot Cultural Centre, France; Full Circle (2009), Metro Arts Gallery, Brisbane; Liminal (2006-2008), Horsham Regional Art Gallery, Victoria; Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne; and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney; Spectacle I (1996), Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney; Spectacle II, Stills Gallery, Sydney. Group exhibitions include DDESSIN [14] (2014), Paris Contemporary Drawing Fair, Atelier Richelieu; Crossing Boundaries (2014), Sydney Town Hall; Edge of Elsewhere (2010-2012), 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney; Planet Ueno (2008); Taito Community Museum, Tokyo; Re-StArt (2008), 733 Art Factory, Chengdu; and News From Islands (2007), Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney.

Dacchi Dang graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (1991) and a Master of Arts (1996) from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney; Graduate Diploma in Archives and Records Management (2000) and Graduate Certificate of Applied Science in Cultural Heritage Studies specialising in Photography (2003) from University of Canberra; and a Doctor of Philosophy (Fine Arts) from Queensland College of the Arts, Griffith University, Brisbane. He has undertaken numerous artist in residence programs including at Bundanon Trust, Hill End (2001); Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2003) and Tokyo University of the Arts Geidai (2008). His work is held in public and private collections in Australia, France, China and Hong Kong.