Outside the Real

15-24 October 1998

Curator: Huang Du

Artists: Cai Guoqiang, Li Yongbin and Zhang Peili

Outside the Real: A New Form of Video Art in China featured works by Cai Guoqiang, Li Yongbin and Zhang Peili. Curator Huang Du referred to these artists as ‘cultural wizards’, whose practices explore methods of viewing and production outside of the standards of a social realist framework. 

4A 2015 Beijing Studio Program Artists Announced

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is please to announce the two selected Australian artists for its 2015 Beijing Studio Program.

Robert McDougall (VIC) and Angela Tiatia (NSW) have been selected to embark on a month-long residency at the studios of renowned Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin.

Robert McDougall and Angela Tiatia were selected by a committee comprising Sue Acret, 4A Board Member and Co-Founder, ArtAsia Advisory; Gary Carsley, artist and UNSWAAD lecturer, and Maurice O’Riordan, Director of the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, Darwin. Artists McDougall and Tiatia were selected based on the strength of their applications, the potential benefits for their practices and capacity to extend their own cross-cultural networks.


20 and 21 November 2010

We’ve invited Liyen Chong to develop one of 4A’s Community Mapping Projects in 2010. Liyen is known for her exquisite embroidered artworks using human hair and her use of images which form a potent symbolic language reflective of cultural history, memory and social roles of women.

Together with the Chinese Heritage Association and the Chinese Women’s Association, we are inviting the community to join the artist to embark on a project that will see the development of a new embroidered artwork -created by the community, using their own hair.

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14 May 2010, Momentum Sydney, 231 Wilson Street, Eveleigh

Lecture and performance by Sumugan Sivanesan

“Only Cannibalism unites us. Socially. Economically. Philosophically.” *

Our civilised societies have a long held fascination with the primitive. The Europeans devised the colonial ‘Other’, the Moderns espoused the perfection of ‘Natural Man’, and now we have the anthropological fantasy of the ‘Last Cannibal Tribe’.

Recent developments in gene technology have revealed that all present day human cultures, at some stage, consumed the flesh of their own.

What’s Eating Gilberto Gil? explores the history of the cannibal trope, its impressions here and its potential ‘fabulation’ across the shifting dynamics of contemporary global life — invariably edging towards transgression, transformation, and ultimately consumption of a manifest tabu.

Sumugan Sivanesan’s What’s Eating Gilberto Gil?, is part of 4A’s major curated project Last Words that will unfold over the 2010 calendar. Comprising performance, workshops, lectures, solo and group exhibitions. Last Words explores language, knowledge and communication in an age of cultural diversity and globalisation, particularly focused on Asian artists living here in Australia and overseas.

Momentum Sydney, 231 Wilson Street, Eveleigh (adjacent to Carriageworks)

*Oswald de Andrade, Manifesto Antropófago. In Piratininga 374th year of the deglutition of Bishop Sardinha.



13 May 2010, 12:30pm at Gallery 4A

4A is pleased to present OIL CAN, a performance by Tatsumi Orimoto.

Employing humour, often to the discomfort of the viewer, Tatsumi Orimoto’s artistic practice examines communication. Through the duration of this performance, the absurd gives way to a tender and serious existential questioning.

Tatsumi Orimoto (Kawasaki, 1946) studied at the Institute of Art, California. In 1971 he moved to New York, where he worked as an assistant to Nam June Paik and was introduced to Fluxus. In 1977 he returned to Kawasaki where he currently lives and works. His performances have been presented in several countries including the Biennale of Sydney, Sāo Paulo Biennale and Venice Biennale.

Performance at Gallery 4A ground level


25 March – 15 May 2010

Artists: Tessa Zettel & Karl Khoe

Make-do Garden City examines the past histories of the Haymarket precinct and imagines its possible futures in the context of food crisis and urban sustainability. Artists Zettle and Khoe seeks to plant a new type of temporary garden on the site of 4A, where over six weeks, the Make Garden mobile workshop will grow a variety of edible plants for distribution to participants and to feed gallery staff.

CHARITY BANQUET: Double Happiness

The Inaugural 4A Charity Banquet: Double Happiness -Red, Bright & Shining 

17 October, 1998

There was also a fashion show featuring gowns by leading Asian-Australian and Australian designers such as Akira Isogawa, Sylvia Chan, Pigs in Space, Nelson Leong, ninety six and Museum. The gowns were then auctioned off.

Proceeds from the evening went towards the activities of the Asian Australian Artists Association and Gallery 4A.

SEMINAR: Asian-Australian Voices

A four part seminar series examining the role of Asian communities in contemporary Australian culture.

Seminar 1: Reinventing Tradition22 June 2001

Speakers: Helen Fong (chair), Mabel Lee, Greg Leong, Xiao Xian Liu, Dr. Peter Wong

Seminar 2: Shifting Perspectives -Departing from Japanese Cultural Stereotypes in Australia, 24 August 2001

Speakers: Terumi Narushima (chair), Yuji Stone, Chaco Kato, Asako Izawa, Jun Tagami

Seminar 3: Onwards Journeys -Charting the Vietnamese-Australian Identity, November 2001

Speakers: Thang Ngo (chair), Dacchi Dang, Dai Le, Khao Do, Cuong Phu Le, Hanh Ngo

Seminar 4: Mapping the Chinese-Australian Landscape -Places of Work, Leisure, Worship, 2002

Speakers: Helen Fong (chair), Howard Choy, Keep Fong OAM, Ann Toy, Tom Dion


Annual 4A Charity Banquet and Art Auction: Bollywood 

1 September 2009, Marigold Restaurant

Music by DJ Tendertrap (Dr. Robert Herbert)

Performances by Kalaya Indian Dancers and David Sequeira

Works donated by Dani Martin, My Le Thi, Kate Beynon, Cherine Fahd, Marion Borgelt, Felicia Kan

SYMPOSIUM: Asian-Australian Art Now: Positioning the Field[s]

27, 28 September 2008

Organized by the Australian Centre for Asian Art & Archaeology, University of Sydney and Gallery 4 A. Sydney with the financial support of the ARC Asia-Pacific Futures Research Network, the School of Letters, Art and Media of the University of Sydney, and Gallery 4A. This workshop will provide a forum for statement and debates by artists, art theorists, art administrators and curators on what constitutes Asian-Australian art. We will debate whether this kind of hyphenated naming and categorization has value, and if so of what kind? Should cultural identification, in current conditions of national and global art, be deferred as simply a situation of reference of art practice, whether of the artist or the theorizing and exhibiting agencies? There is an increasing body of work by Australian artists whose starting point is their own family links to different Asian cultures, and there are artists without such a background who increasingly work directly in Asian countries or with Asian references. These positions have resulted in a complex web of Asian and Australian encounters.

Speakers include: Ah Xian, Gennady Liu, Yuji Sane, Suzann Victor, John Young, Charles Green and Lyndell Brown, Cuong Le, Francis Maravillas, Djon Mundine, Nicholas Tsoutas, Vernon Ah-Kee, Prapon Kumjim, Rodney Glick, Lindy Lee, Jamil Yamani, Alison Carroll, Christine Clark, Rachel Kent, and Kim Machan.

CHARITY BANQUET: Pachinko Royale 2009

4A Annual Banquet and Art Auction: Pachinko Royale 2009

7 February 2009, at Noble Court

Music by DJ Chad Davis, performance by Ana Moët and Maria Feng Yee

Works donated by: Vernon Ah Kee, Brook Aitken, Matt Cox, Jumaadi, Jasper Knight, Lindy Lee, Hoon Li (Jaehoon Lee), Pamela Mei-Leng See, Chris Pang, Koji Ryui, John Young, Ah Xian

For the full program, please contact us at hello@4a.com.au

BOOK LAUNCH: Look Who’s Morphing by Tom Cho

28 May 2009

Launched by William Yang with a reading by Tom Cho from his book Look Who’s Morphing

‘Gallery 4A is pleased to present in association with Giramondo and Writing and Society Research Group at the University of Western Sydney, a series of innovative public programs featuring Asian-Australian writers, which coincide and expand upon Gallery 4A’s exhibition program featuring Asian-Australian artists.

The first of these events is Tom Cho’s book Look Who’s Morphing, a modern day Gulliver Travels tale where the hero romps through a series of surreal adventures spanning across Western pop culture encounters…’

Tom Cho is a 34 year old writer from Melbourne. He has performed at various literature festivals across Australia, and his stories have been published in Australia, USA, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, France, Sweden and Italy. He is currently completing his PhD in Professional Writing in Deakin University.



William Yang Storytelling Workshops

15 March 2009, 22 March 2009

Performance 4A presents a rare opportunity for budding storytellers, playwrights, scriptwriters, poets and authors to join celebrated photographer and monologist William Yang for storytelling workshops in Sydney on 15 & 22 March 2009.

The workshops will discuss participant’s stories and their suitability for adaptation. Selected pieces will be developed over the two workshops.

William Yang is a well-known photographer and performer. Since 1989, he has been performing monologues with image projection and music in the theatre. HIs pieces tend to be autobiographical and they explore themes of marginalisation in the Australian Chinese family, gay community and aboriginal community. To date, Yang has completed ten full-length pieces, most of which have toured Australia and internationally.

Asia-Pacific Documentary Film Festival

March 2006

Artists: Avic Ilagan, Jae Hoon Lee, Michael Shaowanasai, Wang Jian Wei, Kylie Wilkinson, Robert Nery

Curator: Binghui Huangfu

Gallery 4A participated in the 2006 Asia-Pacific Documentary Film Festival exhibiting Filipino artist Avic Ilagan’s video about the repatriation of Filipino domestic workers from Hong Kong; Sydney artist Rober Nery’s 90-minute video about Catholicism in the Philippines including a nails-and-all re-enactment of the crucifixion; and Wang Jianwei’s documentary about Chinese living in half-finished luxury apartments abandoned by developers amongst Jae Hoon Lee, Michael Shaowanasai, Wang Jian Wei and Kylie Wilkinson.

The first screenings were shown at Performance Space, from March 8-11, 2006.

Second screening, titled Nationalism: What are you talking about, was shown at Gallery 4A from March 23-31, 2006.

Jews of Shanghai: Horst Eisfelder

8 February – 9 March 2002

Jews of Shanghai was an exhibition of photographs by Horst Eisfelder, charting his experience as a refugee in Shanghai after the Second World War. Jews are not commonly associated with China, yet by the mid-1930s, a flourishing Jewish community had emerged in the port city of Shanghai, and by 1942 the Jewish community had numbered over 18,000. Horst Eisfelder was thirteen years old when he arrived in Shanghai in 1938 with his family as Jewish refugees from Germany. The young Eisfelder took the photographs in this exhibition over a nine-year period. Now based in Melbourne, Eisfelder’s experience if diaspora and migration and its candid documentation adds to our understanding of Australia’s diverse social history.

This exhibition was part of the Sydney Jewish Museum‘s Crossroads: Shanghai and the Jews of China project.

Fundraising Exhibition

May – June 2003

4A’s annual fundraising exhibition.

Artists: Marion Borgelt, Jon Cattapan, Zhong Chen, Maria Cruz, Dacchi Dang, Anne Ferran, Emil Goh, Rowena Gough, Cherry Hood, Shen Jiawei, Lindy Lee, Victoria Lobregat, Deborah Paauwe, David Serisier, Sally Smart, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Laurens Tan, My Le Thi, Blanche Tilden, Fan Dong Wan, Guan Wei, Ah Xian, Liu Xiao Xian, William Yang, John Yang, Anne Sahalka, Gang Zhao, Kate Beyton, Cherine Fahd, David Griggs, Nell, Sangeeta Sandrasegar, Aaron Seeto, Renee So, Selina Ou, Andrea Tu


exhibition-view-3  exhibition-view-5

Nightvision I-IV

Nightvision is a project that consists of public screenings of video art involving emerging artists and curators in a series of four exhibitions of short and silent video works. Presented outside the Gallery 4A’s exhibition hours, rear-projected in the gallery’s ground floor window, the exhibition will be screened sunset to sunrise on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays over a period of a few weeks.

The projected videos will expose people who may be unfamiliar with contemporary art to the activities of young video artists from around the country and around the world. This project aimed to engage, support and promote young artists and to develop audiences for contemporary art that uses modern technology.

Nightvision I: Airfreight Copy

February – March 2003

Artists: Go Watanabe, Renaud Bezy

Curator: Emil Goh

Nightvision II: Puncture Capital

March – April 2003

Artists: Patrick Abboud, Catriona McKenzie, The Boat People

Curator: Amanda Cacchia

Nightvision III: Really Reel

April – May 2003

Artists: Kate Just, Chloe Salvaris, DAMP, Muto Isamu, Yoshida Hikari, Sawanobori Kyoko (N-Mark Japan), Dion Sanderson

Curator: Larissa Hjorth

Nightvision IV: The Long

May – June 2003

Artists: Brad Hammond, Paula Wong, Samantha Rath, Cecelia Huynh, Luke Butterworth

Curator: Aaron Seeto

4A Members’ Exhibition 2005

8 December – 17 December 2005

Artists: Cate Norton, Catherine Cloran, Eduardo Lopex- Valdezpino, Elke Wohlfahrt, Fan Dongwang, Jennifer Jackson, Jenny Yan Jun Wassell, Jonathan Vencore, Josephine Seyfried, Juliana O’Dean, Megan Jones, Nathalie Hartong-Gautier, Zara Collins

Open to all members of the Asian Australian Artists Association, this annual fundraising show provided an opportunity for both emerging and established artists to showcase new or existing work across a range of mediums including photography, painting, sculpture and installation.

Asian Traffic Shenzhen

15 December 2005 – 18 February 2006

OCTA, Contemporary Art Centre, Shenzhen

Artist: Ma Chu

Curator: Huang Zhuan

In 2004, 4A embarked on an ambitious exhibition project called Asian Traffic. Curated by Binghui Huangfu, this multi-chapter exhibition included the work of key Asian artists working in the region in an exhibition which marked out some of the shifting concerns of artists at the beginning of this century. The exhibition had a geographic reach that spread throughout Asia, and in 2005 developed into a major international touring project.

Still Away

3 November – 3 December 2005

Artists: Phaptawan Suwannakudt (Australia), Michael Shaowanasai (US), Navin Raiwanchaikul (Japan)

Still Away was a complimentary parallel event to a major Thai contemporary art exhibition held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW). The exhibition at AGNSW featured a large cross section of the vibrant contemporary art movement that was developing in Thailand. This exhibition was produced by AGNSW with 4A as part of our ongoing partnership philosophy. The two exhibitions focused on diasporic elements of Thai contemporary art.

It appears to be a peculiar phenomena of Thai contemporary art that whilst most of its practitioners have travelled and studied overseas, most seem to base their practice back in Thailand. In the complementary exhibition at 4A, the artists involved addressed what it means to be Thai while remaining outside of Thailand.

Asian Traffic Shanghai

22 October – 30 November, 2005

Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai 

Artists: Huang Kui, Jin Feng, Jin Shan, Su Wenxiang, Tang Maohong, Arahmaiani, Shoufay Derz, Katherine Huang, Yoko Kajio, Shigeyuki Kihara, Jae Hoon Lee, Owen Leong, Leung Mee Ping, Koky Saly, Sangeeta Sandrasegar, Michael Shaowanasai, Renee So, Kijeong Song, Manit Sriwanichpoom, Suzann Victor, Keith Wong, Mahmoud Yekta, Wang Zhiyuan

In 2004, 4A embarked on an ambitious exhibition project called Asian Traffic. Curated by Binghui Huangfu, this multi-chapter exhibition included the work of key Asian artists working in the region in an exhibition which marked out some of the shifting concerns of artists at the beginning of this century. The exhibition had a geographic reach that spread throughout Asia, and in 2005 developed into a major international touring project.

Asian Traffic Beijing

1 September – 15 September, 2005

Today Art Museum, Beijing 

Conference: Transnational Culture2 September

Artists: Shigeyuki Kihara, Michael Shaowanasai, Renee So, Kijeong Song, Manit Sriwanichpoom, Suzann Victor, Keith Wong, Mahmoud Yekta, Wang Zhiyuan

Curator: Leng Lin

In 2004, 4A embarked on an ambitious exhibition project called Asian Traffic. Curated by Binghui Huangfu, this multi-chapter exhibition included the work of key Asian artists working in the region in an exhibition which marked out some of the shifting concerns of artists at the beginning of this century. The exhibition had a geographic reach that spread throughout Asia, and in 2005 developed into a major international touring project.

Asian Traffic Singapore

18 June – 12 July, 2005

Esplanade-Theatres on the Bay, Singapore

Symposium: Artistic Practise in the Third Space, 19 June

Artists: Koky Saly, Renee So, Mahmoud Yekta, Sangeeta Sandrasegar, Leung Mee Ping, Michael Shaowanasai, Manit Sriwanichpoom, Emily Chua, Michael Lee

In 2004, 4A embarked on an ambitious exhibition project called Asian Traffic. Curated by Binghui Huangfu, this multi-chapter exhibition included the work of key Asian artists working in the region in an exhibition which marked out some of the shifting concerns of artists at the beginning of this century. The exhibition had a geographic reach that spread throughout Asia, and in 2005 developed into a major international touring project.

Open Letter

Emil Goh, ‘Remake (Ring),’ 2004. DVD video, 1’56”, installation view.


Phase One: 10 March – 10 April, 2005

Artists: Dadang Christanto, Selina Ou, Vienna Parreno, Koky Saly

Phase Two: 14 April – 28 May, 2005

Artists: Emil Goh, George Poonkhin Khut + John Tonkin, Melissa Ramos, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, My Le Thi, Suzann Victor

A one-day symposium was held on 9 April.

Open Letter celebrated ten years of Australian involvement in ASEAN. Developed in conjunction with Asialink, the exhibition travelled to 9 ASEAN countries with the aim of highlighting the ASEAN group’s cultural connections with Australia. The artists involved are all Asian-Australians with ethnic origins in ASEAN member countries, representing many variations on themes of migration. Some explored their artist journeys, while others presented the conflicts, challenges and successes that form part of their experience of displacement, exile and diaspora. The exhibition also provided opportunities for the artists to report back to their cultures of origin about their artistic journeys.

International Tour:

Bangkok: 5 August – 30 September, National Gallery

Manila: 5 October – 5 November, Metropolitan Museum

Kuala Lumpur: 14 February – 16 April 2006, National Art Gallery




4 Feburary – 5 March, 2005

Artist: Liu Xiao Xian

Game opened the 2005 program of the Asia Australia Art Centre coinciding with the Chinese New Year Celebrations. The project involved the exhibition of works by emerging Australian artist Liu Xiao Xian ranging from photographs, sculpture and installation pieces.

The exhibition explored Liu Xiao Xian’s practice reflecting his experience of being Chinese outside of China. He achieves this in his works through an almost poetic exploration of history that incorporated historical images such as nineteenth century stereo photographs. This is reflected in the works exhibited entitled My Other Lives, which are large stereoscopic photographs of famous cities around the world with the artist inserting his own visage in the imagery. A key concern of this work is to render visible the presence of Asian-Australians within the dominant narratives of Australian history by providing a cultural and visual discussion of what it means to live both ‘in’ and ‘out’ of Australia and China.

Lantern Decorating and Music Family Workshops – Sydney Chinese New Year Festival at the Chinese Garden of Friendship



Lantern Decorating Workshop

In 2018, Sydney’s 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art invites you to join us in celebrating Chinese New Year at our family-friendly workshops in the Chinese Garden of Friendship on Saturday 24th February and Saturday 3rd March 2018.

Located within Darling Harbour, the workshops will take place in the serene hidden oasis of the Chinese Garden of Friendship, allowing participants to experience and appreciate the traditional Chinese landscapes and philosophy of the garden.

For just a gold coin donation, families can participate in the creation and decoration of paper lanterns with activities designed to cater to a wide age range. Participants are also invited to create origami dogs to celebrate the Year of the Dog.

4A will provide all materials for construction, as well as guided instruction.

The lantern workshops continue the commitment of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art to the City of Sydney’s Chinese New Year celebration, with the goal of developing creativity and public engagement with Sydney’s Chinatown community and culture.

Music Workshop/Performance: Rainbow Chan’s Weitou Lullaby
On Saturday24th February, join artist and musician Chun Yin Rainbow Chan – and her mum – at the Chinese Garden of Friendship to learn a lullaby in Weitou.
Weitou dialect is a Yue Chinese language that is spoken mainly by older generations in Shenzen and Hong Kong’s New Territories. Rainbow, who grew up between Hong Kong and Australia, is on a journey to learn her family’s local dialect through song. In this session, Rainbow will talk about her experience of reconnecting with language and place through song, give a performance, and then teach participants a simple lullaby in Weitou. Rainbow will be joined and assisted by her mum in this session and families are encouraged to join us and sing along together.

About Chun Yin Rainbow Chan:

Chun Yin Rainbow Chan is a multidisciplinary artist who works across sound, performance and installation. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Sydney, she is interested in duality, diaspora and the effects of globalisation on modern Chinese society. Tying together her works across installation and pop music is the relationship between nostalgia, migration and identity. Since winning FBi Radio’s Northern Lights Competition in 2011, Chan has been building a reputation as one of the most innovative artists in Australia with her highly personal, experimental pop music. She recently released her debut album Spacings (Silo Arts & Records) which was met with critical acclaim, handpicked as the feature album on FBi Radio, Radio Adelaide, RTRFM and scoring 4 stars from Rolling Stone.