Paul Bai: New Chinese Paintings and Moko Halford: Packaged Memories

18 August – 11 September 1999

Paul Bai’s exhibition New Chinese Paintings is a continuation of his research into the way Chinese culture is often presented in Australia – as exotic and mysterious. Stereotypes Chinese icons and cultural cliches appear in Bai’s works. He employs social realist and satirical strategies to produce a parody of a cultural parody, such as in the work I Like Your Country Too. By confronting the colonial cultural perspective, Bai reveals the often superficial nature of cultural interpretation, and the limitations of current understandings of Chinese culture in Australian society.

Moko Halford’s installation is both and exploration into her own hybrid identity and a personal tribute to her late father. Halford has created images of her family by injecting agar-agar jelly into sheets of bubble-wrapped packaging. This method creates the effect of pixillated drawing. Halford’s use of agar-agar suggests the transition from one cultural environment (Japan) to another (Australia). Her use of packaging materials also alludes to the way in which she keeps in contact with her family – by sending packages through the post.