Holding Patterns



9 JUL – 29 OCT 2020

In a period of uncertainty and stasis, artists have demonstrated the capacity of human creativity through artistic innovation, lateral thought, and inspired action. In our current period of changes and shifts, 4A is pleased to invite you to engage with Holding Patterns, a series of four solo exhibitions on view from July to October. These exhibitions highlight and support the works of Sydney-based artists Kien Situ, Crossing Threads®, Shireen Taweel and Sofiyah Ruqayah, utilising our ground-floor gallery space and windows out onto Haymarket’s streets.

Referring to the aeronautical manoeuvre of an airplane forced to delay its landing procedure to avoid potential disaster, a holding pattern suggests divergence from an established routine and the suspension of normalcy. Crucially, it is an action of adaptability: a pilot executing specific turns whilst accounting for wind speed and direction to establish its course. The pattern achieves seemingly limitless flight, looping until given permission to commence its landing operations, once again returning to earth and reality. It is in this moment of suspension that we find ourselves undertaking our own rituals of contemplation, addressing our own pathways forward in a time of stillness.

For the exhibiting artists COVID-19 has been an unexpected intervention, a force majeure. Forced out of their routines, artists have now been given opportunities to reflect on what it means to be creatively-engaged during a time of crisis. Contemplating artistic practice with the arts industry shut down, Holding Patterns demonstrates the resilience and ingenuity of artists during this time.. Some have taken time to rest and recharge, quietly laying projects to rest to make way for new ideas, while others have pivoted to hone their craft. 

Through textiles, sculptures, metallurgy, drawing and painting, the artists of Holding Patterns deftly navigate cultural histories, identities, object permanence and transmutation through process-based practice. As the first exhibiting artist, Kien Situ creates architecturally-informed sculptures of domestic and sacred objects and furniture rendered with obscurity in form, function and material. The complex ‘interknot’ technique of Crossing Threads® embraces compositional tension and release in the contrasting tones and textures of their lyrical, abstracted pieces. Shireen Taweel modernises the traditional art of copper-smithing to create pieces that blur the line between jewellery and sculpture, opening dialogues of shared histories and relationships between communities of fluid identities. Sofiyah Ruqayah’s indeterminate forms draw upon mutations of human and non-human realities, generating connections between tangible bodies and aetheric dreams and spirit worlds informed by cultural myths of embodiment.

Fusing together their own creative impulses within traditional methods, these artists make mass departures from ‘normal’ culturally-concerned art making. It is within these strays from tradition and the ‘expected’ that new cultural dialogues can begin to emerge, representing the hybridity of Asian-Australian contemporary art practice. By merging traditional Asian techniques and labour-intensive processes, Holding Patterns relishes in craftsmanship and provides opportunities to glimpse the artists’ material worlds of contemplation and stillness, offering momentary suspension from our own holding patterns.

Artist Biographies:

Kien Situ (b. 1990, Sydney) is a sculpture and installation artist meditating on memory, cultural amnesia and identity in relation to the aesthetics of constructed objects and environments. Drawing upon familiar spatial, formal, textural, tectonic and material experience of his East Asian upbringing, Kien utilises and dissects his Eurocentric architectural education to create objects which reinterpret formative aesthetic and sensory experiences obfuscated by a diasporic childhood. His works are a physical melding of this experience, casting industrial gypsum cement with the regional, “artistic” material of Chinese Mò ink, a material central to the artist’s practice as part of the investigation into the symbiotic relationship between geography, place and identity.

Crossing Threads® is the collaborative work of Australian-born sisters of Filipino heritage Lauren Hernandez (b. 1988, Sydney) and Kass Hernandez (b. 1989, Sydney). These self-taught tapestry artists first explored the practice of weaving in early 2015 by attending a beginner’s workshop. Known for their large-scale and highly textural handwoven pieces, the Hernandez sisters seek to emulate the natural forms found in nature. Their carefully curated fibre selections include Australian Merino wool, plant-based fibres, up-cycled/dead-stock fabrics and other foraged items that aren’t traditionally used in fibre art. Their practice has led them to develop their recognisable ‘interknot’ technique, made up of intertwining hand-knotted chains of varying texture and thickness which graduate to a relief. The artists continually draw spiritual inspiration from their surrounding landscapes and personal experiences and are materialised through their abstract designs.

Shireen Taweel (b. 1990, Bankstown, lives and works in Sydney, Australia) is a multimedia installation artist whose work broaches issues of the construction of cultural heritage, knowledge and identity through language and the constantly shifting public space of the social, political and religious axiom. Her artistic practice draws from the personal experiences of being Lebanese Australian living between cultures, and how the physical spaces within her community reflect a complex cultural landscape of transformation expressed through hybridity and plurality. The project development of Shireen’s works are often site-specific, weaving local narratives and research with a focus on experimentation in material and sound through site. Shireen’s constant acquisition of traditional coppersmith artisan skills is a research vessel for community focused conceptual development, and through a progressive application of the collected artisan techniques and a manipulation of the traditional acts of making that leads to possibilities of cross-cultural discourse opening dialogues of shared histories and fluid community identities. 

Sofiyah Ruqayah (b. 1992, Sydney) is a Sydney-based artist working across drawing, installation, collage and painting to explore the strange territories between human and nonhuman realities. She is interested in themes of mutation, dream and spirit worlds. Drawing upon imagined and felt connections between various bodies, presences and memories, as well familial and cultural myths of embodiment, Sofiyah’s practice invites us to speculate on our nonhuman origins and intertwined fates. In 2020, Sofiyah is undertaking a 12-month studio residency at Parramatta Artists’ Studios, and will present her first solo exhibition at 4A in October, as part of the Holding Patterns exhibition series. She has exhibited both locally and internationally, including group exhibitions at Lubov Gallery (New York), Peacock Gallery (Sydney) and at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (Sydney) with Woven Kolektif, a collective of emerging Australian artists with personal ties to Indonesia.


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.


29 May- 21 June 

Window Video Projections screening

Sunset – Sunrise

Thursday, Friday and Saturday

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

Nightvision IV is a program of short silent video works showcasing the talents of young and emerging national and international artists projected on to the Asia-Australia centre ground-floor window. Curated by Aaron Seeto, Nightvision screens sunset to sunrise every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.


19 September – 18 October 2003


Artists: Lindy Lee, Greg Leong, William Yang

Jia (Family, House, Home) is a group exhibition presented with the Carnivale Multicultural Arts Festival. To be opened by Mr King Fong OAM.

The exhibition toured internationally with an opening held at the Hong Kong Fringe Club on 4 February 2004. Included speeches by Douglas Gautier (Executive Director, HK Arts Festival), the officiating guests John Phibeam, Deputy Consul-General of Australian Consulate General Hong Kong, and Benny Chia, Director of Fringe Club, and participating artists Lindy Lee and William Yang respectively. A video of the opening can be found on Asian Art Archive.


10 March – 14 May 2005

Phase Two Exhibition Launch

Thursday 14 April 6.00-8.00PM

Artists: Dadang Christanto, Emil Goh, George Poonkhin Khut + John Tonkin, Selina Ou, Vienna Parreno + Krysztof Osinski, Melissa Ramos, Koky Saly, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, My Le Thi, Suzann Victor

Open Letter is a touring exhibition celebrating the 30th anniversary of Australia’s dialogue partnership with ASEAN.




October – 20 November 2004

Exhibition Launch

Thursday 21 October 6.00-9.00PM

Artists: Emil Goh, Guan Wei, My Le Thi

Process is a group exhibition presenting the works of Emil Goh, Guan Wei and My Le Thi. To be opened by Councillor Phillip Black, City of Sydney at the Asia-Australia Arts Centre.

Artist Talks

Friday 22 October 2.00PM


Saturday 23 October 2pm

The artists Guan Wei  and My Le Thi will be conducting workshops and public interactive projects during this exhibition.






Exit Strategies is a new exhibition by Vietnamese-Australian artist James Nguyen that reflects upon the artist’s experience of living in a factory in south-west Sydney with his family during the 1990s in a effort to save a failing textiles business. Commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Nguyen’s new body of work explores the complexities of familial relationships between himself, his brother and parents as migrants in an adopted country.

Working in a semidocumentary mode of construction, whereby the artist presents a fictional story that incorporates many factual details or actual events, Exit Strategies sees Nguyen collaborate with his family as key characters in a fragmented narrative. Adopting the roles of both the artist and his brother during moments of their upbringing within a place of work, Nguyen’s parents interpret scenes from the family’s history that saw the children passing time while they laboured to earn a living in the floundering Australian textiles industry. As a final attempt to sustain both family life and livelihood under a single roof, this act reflects the challenges experienced by many migrant families seeking stability and opportunity.

Exit Strategies includes on a newly-commissioned 4-channel video work that focuses on the artist’s parents. Dressed in matching white t-shirts and shorts, the couple re-enact and narrate the experiences of their children through split scene sequences. In doing so, Nguyen re-visits a family’s personal reflections on the idiosyncrasies of parenthood. By reversing the roles of the parent, Nguyen re-imagines his childhood as a psychological reference for the responsibility that children of refugee or migrants often assume. Also included in the exhibition are a number of sculptural components, video vignettes and installations that further address the economic transformation and social implications of the decline of the textiles industry on Australian society from the 1980s onwards.

As the artist’s first significant solo exhibition, Exit Strategies marks an important contribution by a member of a younger generation of Vietnamese-Australian artist, of which a critical mass share an upbringing in western Sydney, and are likewise exploring concerns relating to the Vietnamese diaspora in Australia. Through re-staging and framing intimate familial gestures in the face of financial ruin, Exit Strategies draws human and personal connections alongside broader geopolitics of war, economic reform and nationhood.

James Nguyen (b.1982, Vietnam) is a Sydney-based artist whose output ranges from drawing, installation, video and performance. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from the National Art School, Sydney, in 2012 and is currently undertaking a Masters of Fine Arts at Sydney College of Arts (SCA), University of Sydney. He has been the recipient of the Clitheroe Foundation Scholarship and the Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship. Since 2012 Nguyen has participated in several group exhibitions including at Articulate Project Space, Sydney; YOLK Collective, Sydney; William Wright’s Artists Projects, Sydney; and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts. His first solo exhibition was at Bradfield College, North Sydney, in 2013 titled EXIT Strategy, and his recent solo exhibition, The Man With the Movie Camera, was presented at both SCA Gallery and FELTspace, Adelaide in 2014.


Produced & Presented by


SYDNEY. 3 FEBRUARY 2012, 8pm.

Coinciding with the City of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival, Cinema Alley celebrates contemporary Chinese video art with the screening of five significant short video artworks by Asian artists and filmmakers in an open-air street cinema located on Parket Street, Haymarket in the heart of the Chinatown district.

Curated by Aaron Seeto, Cinema Alley features a selection of short film and video-based art works by five leading contemporary Asian artists: Chen Cheih-Jen; Jun Yang; Ou Ning and Cao Fei; Wang Qingsong; and Yuan Goang-ming. The films explore the artists’ different perceptions of their cities, transformation, experiences of alienation and the effects that history and tradition place on the individual.

Globalisation, labour, consumerism and migration are key themes in the films with the content touching on the harrowing experience of a man adrift on a small boat at sea, the hardship faced by factory workers, teams of skyscraper construction workers and the fate of once rural Chinese regions experiencing the rapid onset of real estate development.



Central Magazine by Kim Shaw

Time Out Sydney by Stuart Holmes


ADELAIDE. 19 MAY – 22 JULY 2016.

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s first exhibition in Adelaide is a touring presentation of Future Archaeology hosted by our collaborative parter Nexus Arts.

Future Archaeology presents work by a group of emerging and mid-career artists who conceptually engage with notions of tradition through contemporary cultural artefacts. Through an appropriation of the discipline of archaeology, the exhibition attempts to present a complex image of the social and political movements throughout the Asia-Pacific based on narratives of migration, cultural displacement and appropriation.

Future Archaeology draws on a leading theme of multiplicity – of numerous geo-historical trajectories borne of moments of disruption, rather than continuity – as a means to consider both historical moments and contemporary developments that have shaped the cultural landscape. Attempting to draw connections between cultural traditions and contemporary experiences are works that explore, for example, the mass migration of Vietnamese to Australia, the widespread deforestation and cultural destruction of Central America, and the confluence of Western and Pakistani ideals of masculinity.

The exhibition features new works that have been commissioned by 4A complemented by existing works presented in Australia for the first time. With art forms spanning sawdust carpets through to truck art medallions, Future Archaeology reflects upon experiences of cultural dislocation and the attempts made by artists to initiate new conversations across geographical and historical distances, which together offer alternatives on aesthetic and conceptual development of contemporary Australian art.

Nexus Arts,
Lion Arts Centre; Corner North Terrace & Morphett St
Adelaide 5000       

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Nathan Beard is an interdisciplinary artist based in Western Australia whose work engages syncretistically with the myriad of influences from his Thai-Australian background. He critically deconstructs tense binary divisions between the East and West, the highbrow and low culture, and the conceptual centre and periphery relationship and explores these cultural exchanges through his playful artistic practice. Beard had participated in solo and group exhibitions including Ad Matres, Artereal Gallery, Sydney (2015); Light Locker Art Space, Perth CBD, Perth (2013); Interregna, Moana Peroject Space, Perth (2013); and the 2012 Next Wave Festival – the space between us wants to sing, NGV Studio, Melbourne (2012). He has held residencies in Speedy Grandma, Bangkok and the Perth Institude of Contemporary Arts, Perth and is part of The Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere with fellow artists Abdul Abdullah and Casey Ayers.

Léuli Eshraghi is a Melbourne-based artist who uses illustration, painting, photography and installation to discuss indigeneity, language, body sovereignty and queer possibility. His works on paper retrace and reconnect to his Persian and Samoan heritages, taking inspiration from the traditional aesthetics of gabbeh carpet and siapo barkcloth in order to visualise hidden stories, concealed traumas and spirits of the past. Eshraghi is the current Gertrude Contemporary-Next Wave Emerging Curator and editor of the Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival’s Oceania Now publication. He has exhibited at Seventh Gallery, Melbourne (2015); the Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival (2015); and RM Gallery, Auckland (2014). Eshraghi’s curatorial projects include Total Eclipse, Melbourne Fringe Festival, The Ownership Project (2014); and the award winning So Fukin Native with Pauline Vetuna mentor Taloi Havini, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Blak Dot Gallery (2012).

Deanna Hitti is an artist specializing in printmaking, drawing from her professional experience of over 14 years in the field. Her books and prints, published through her own studio, investigate the complex relationship between Eastern and Western cultures and how this relationship is understood and constructed through the perspective of a Lebanese-Australian. Hitti’s arist books reflect on classicism in both hemispheres of the world, analysing the notions of exoticism, romanticism and the orientalist gaze to comprehend contemporary representations of the Middle East in both art and the media. She has exhibited internationally in solo and group shows including The Centre for Book Arts (New York); IMPACT8 Conference, Scotland; Langford120, Melbourne; and 45 Downstairs, Melbourne. The artist’s books and prints have been bought by The State Library of Victoria and the National Library of Australia, among other major Australian collections. 

Andy Mullens is a Canberra-based artist whose practice discusses concepts of singular and group identity, and self-representation through an exploration of cultural identity, family history and national history. Working between both film and digital photography as well as sculpture and traditional craft, she strives to reconcile her Australian and Vietnamese identity, realigning herself with her Vietnamese family, cultural heritage and her history. After completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) in 2014, Mullens exhibited her first solo show three at Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Canberra in 2015. She has also participated in group exhibitions including Past Perfect, Leta Gallery + Project Space, Canberra (2015); and Plucked, gallery@bcs, Canberra (2015), part of the ANU School of Art Emerging Artist Support Scheme BSC Springboard Award.

Claudia Nicholson was born in Bogota, Colombia 1987. In 2011 she graduated with a Bachelor Of Fine Arts (Honours) from UNSW Art and Design (Formally COFA). In 2013 She exhibited at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art as part of their emerging artist program. In 2013 she participated in Centro Selva’s artist in residency program in the Peruvian Amazon and had her first solo show, Silly Homeland, at Gaffa gallery. In 2014 Nicholson was an artist in residence at Firstdraft gallery resulting in her second solo exhibition. She recently participated in the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art studio program in Beijing with Shen Shaomin. Nicholson is an associated artist of Gaffa gallery Sydney.  As a Colombian born artist, adopted and raised in Australia, Nicholson occupies an ambivalent position between Australian, Amerindian and Latino cultures. Her work is multidisciplinary with a focus on ceramics, video art, sculpture and painting. She works extensively with her family, using performance to comment on social attitudes pertaining to kinship and familial relationships. The tensions of cultural hybridity and dislocation resonate throughout her practice.

Abdullah M.I. Syed is an interdisciplinary artist working between Karachi and Sydney. His works utilize a variety of mediums and techniques to present a complex political commentary that tackles controversial topics such as the War on Terror, immigration and Western attitudes towards Eastern society. He participated in the Britto artists’ workshop and an artist residency at Cicada Press. He has also co-curated exhibitions, notably Michael Esson: A Survey of Drawing, Michael Kempson: A Survey of Prints, Aboriginal Dreams and Let’s Draw the Line in Karachi, Pakistan. As a designer, Syed co-coordinated the Design Department at the University of Karachi and has lectured there and at UCO in the United States. He is recently completed his Ph. D at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney, Australia.


Artist talk – Monyet Gila: Episode One and launch of Art Monthly Australasia

Saturday 19 March: Artist talk at 12.30pm // Art Monthly Australasia launch at 1pm

Artist Adri Valery Wens focuses on cultural stories of Hindu-Javanese origin, specifically the Wayang Orang (Human Puppet) performance based on two foundation epics – the Mahabharata (the story of the great Bharata Dynasty) and the Ramayana (the story of Rama’s Journey). Wens delves into the complexity and tensions of his cultural background through a series of photographic depictions of himself ‘performing’ characters within these epic narratives. Staged in Jakarta, dressed in elaborate costumes and theatrical makeup, the images translate the philosophical, political, poetic, performance and re-performance content of the epic stories through the genre of self-portraiture.

Join the artist as he discusses his work in Monyet Gila: Episode One. 

Following the talk, Art Monthly will relaunch as Art Monthly Australasia. Reflecting the magazine’s expanded Asia-Pacific coverage, Art Monthly’s March 2016 bumper edition explores Australia’s historic and contemporary engagement with Asia across the visual arts, with essays by some of Asian art’s leading curators, including Russell Storer and Mami Kataoka, artist pages by Jumaadi, and much to contemplate.

To help celebrate its launch, you are invited to join us at 4A on Saturday 19 March 2016 at 1pm.

Art Monthly’s Asia focus edition will be officially launched by Chaitanya Sambrani, followed by 20th Biennale of Sydney artist Yuta Nakamura in conversation with Jasmin Stephens.

Art Central Hong Kong

23 – 26 March, 2016

ROUNDTABLE X 4A is a series of discussions, interviews, presentations and performances hosted by 4A. This dynamic program will focus on artistic and curatorial practices from across Asia and the Pacific, in particular highlighting the work of 4A and other non-profit organisations in supporting and developing new discourses and conversations. Roundtable breaks down the stigma around contemporary art by inviting guests to join the 4A team at their communal table to participate or simply listen to their extensive program.

Learn more about what it takes to commission new artworks, hear experiences of artists participating in residencies abroad, or watch new performance artworks by some of Australia’s leading practitioners. Roundtable will feature new performances by artists Frances Barrett, Abdullah M.I. Syed and Latai Taumoepeau, each of which reflect on the context of the contemporary art fair in Asia.

Read the full program here


4A圓桌會談是由4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art於展會期間舉辦的一連串互動討論、訪問、簡佈及表演活動。閱讀更多




One Hundred Names is the first Australian solo exhibition by Chinese artist Chen Qiulin. Chen belongs to a generation of Chinese artists whose work articulates the social repercussions of China’s ongoing process of political and economic reform. Her work explores the many contradictions inherent within the conditions that frame contemporary life in a country where myriad tensions and conflicts between tradition, progress and appearances are constantly tested. Raised in Wanzhou City, located in the municipality of Chongqing in western China, Chen’s home city was partially submerged by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River since 2001 and her work responds to this lived experience of natural and urban landscapes in flux.

4A’s exhibition includes a survey of the artist’s practice from the last ten years. Included are key works such as The Garden (2007) and Farewell Poem (2007), which through performance explore and document the physical and psychological upheaval caused by the comprehensive expansion of the city and the construction of the dam, which forced more than one million people from their ancestral homes. Also exhibited are new works such as City Manager (2015), a single-channel video which focuses on three archetypal figures and their role in the urban expansion and development of a new kind of architecture and class system within China. Playful and irreverent, City Manager speaks to immense influence of a small group of people in shaping the physical and social landscapes of contemporary China.

Commissioned especially for 4A is One Hundred Names for Kwong Wah Chong (2015), the latest iteration of Chen Qiulin’s ongoing One Hundred Surnames in Tofu(2004 – ) project that presents the one hundred most common Chinese family names carved from tofu, slowly decaying over a period of weeks or months. For Chen, tofu is not only one of China’s oldest and most commonly used ingredients but also an apt artistic medium that symbolises the material transformation through intensive labour. One Hundred Names for Kwong Wah Chong has been produced to commemorate Sydney’s iconic Haymarket district and, in particular, Sydney’s first Chinese-owned and operated shopfront business, Kwong Wah Chong, whose location at 84 Dixon Street which was an economic and social cornerstone for the Chinese community in the early decades of the twentieth-century.

As one of China’s foremost artists, Chen Qiulin represents a new voice in contemporary Chinese art which is at once highly personal and universal, speaking to broader politics of migration and identification. One Hundred Names presents a dynamic platform across an exhibition, performance and public programs that showcases the conceptually and technically diverse practice of Chen Qiulin that articulates past experiences and future potentials of social and urban landscapes of our region.


4A当代艺术中心此次展览将呈现部分艺术家十年来的艺术探索成果。主要作品包括系列摄影 作品《花园》(2007)、《别赋》(2007 摄影)等,该作品纪录了三峡工程导致的百万居民背井离乡的现实和疯狂扩张的城市给生活带来的魔幻和迷惘,通过行为表演的艺术手段表现了这一过程造成的生活和心理的双重影响。单屏幕录像作品《城市管理者》(2015)以三类真实人群为原型,表现了他们在城市建设及扩张过程中扮演的角色,探讨了中国社会中正在形成的新型等级关系。该作品荒诞滑稽的镜头折射出中国当代生活中个别人群可能带来的巨大而深远的社会影响。



Chen Qiulin (b. 1975, Yichang, Hubei Province) belongs to a generation of younger artists whose work articulates the social repercussions of China’s ever-constant push for political and economic reform. Visualising the many contradictions inherent to the condition of contemporary living in a country where the tension and conflict between tradition, custom and ritual are consistently challenged, Chen Qiulin’s carefully considered photographic and video compositions are powerful provocations of progress and ambition.

Chen Qiulin has participated in numerous exhibitions in China and abroad, recently featured in 7th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, Korea, 2008; ‘Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art’, David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, USA, 2008; ‘China Power Station II’, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Olso, Norway, 2007; ‘THIS IS NOT FOR YOU – Sculptural Discourses’, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria, 2006-2007; and ‘The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art’, Millenium Art Museum, Beijing, China and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York, USA (touring), 2005 and a number of influential solo exhibitions in Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Max Protetch Gallery, Long March Space, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

Her works have been collected by many important art galleries, collections and private collectors in the United States and Europe, for example Astrup Fearnley Museum (Norway), Denver Art Museum (USA), Logan Collection (USA), T-BA21, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (Austria), Hammer Museum (USA), the Bohen Foundation (New York, USA), Worcester Art Museum (USA), Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art (Australia), Today Art Museum (Beijing, China).

陈秋林( 1975年生于湖北省宜昌市)作为中国年轻一代艺术家,其作品关注中国不断推进的政治和经济改革带来的社会影响。陈秋林运用摄影和摄像手段进行创作,将现代生活与传统价值观的冲突矛盾以视觉形象表现出来。


陈秋林作品参与的国内国外展览众多,近期展出包括:2008年在韩国举办的第七届光州双年展(7th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju);同年在美国芝加哥大学David and Alfred Smart 美术馆展出的《位移-三峡大坝与中国当代艺术》(Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art);2007年于挪威奥斯陆Astrup Fearnley现代艺术博物馆展出的《中国电站II》(China Power Station II);2006-2007年奥地利维也纳Thyssen-Bornemisza当代艺术馆呈现的《这不是给你的-雕塑语境》(THIS IS NOT FOR YOU – Sculptural Discourses);2005年于北京中华世纪坛美术馆和纽约诺克斯美术馆巡回展出的《墙-重构中国当代艺术》(The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art)。其个展在世界各地多家艺术机构亮相,其中包括洛杉矶翰墨博物馆、纽约Max Protetch画廊、北京长征空间、Eli and Edythe Broad艺术博物馆等。

陈秋林的作品被美国、欧洲等多地画廊、机构及个人收藏,例如Astrup Fearnley博物馆(挪威)、Denver艺术博物馆(美国)、Logan收藏(美国)、Thyssen-Bornemisza当代艺术馆T-BA21收藏(奥地利)、翰墨博物馆(洛杉矶)、Bohan基金会(纽约)、Worcester艺术博物馆(美国)、昆士兰现代艺术馆(澳大利亚)、今日美术馆(北京,中国)等。



4A is pleased to announce the two selected Australian artists for our 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.

4A’s Beijing Studio Program, assisted by major supporter Vicki Olsson, is now in its fourth year of operation. It provides early 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.

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. 

Sue Acret said of Robert McDougall:

“Robert’s thoughtful sound, video and installation works reflect an ongoing engagement with Asia. His focus has seen him undertake research, exhibitions and residencies in countries that include India, Vietnam, East Malaysia (Borneo) and Tblisi (Georgia). 4A’s Beijing Studio Program will allow him to continue this exploration of Asian practices and traditions, while also drawing on his own Australian cultural experience and framework to produce work that is informed by both environments.”

Maurice O’Riordan said of Angela Tiatia:

“Angela’s proposal was succinct and her work (performance/video/installation) shares a similar succinctness and clarity of intent. Although she is emerging in the sense of being in the first 5 years of her practice, her international experience and exposure has prepared her for a studio program such as this. This Program will allow Angela to develop a professional relationship with 4A and as such, consider her practice within the context of contemporary Asian art.”

The 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.

Toby Chapman, 4A Assistant Curator and Beijing Studio Program coordinator said,

“We were thrilled by the number and high standard of applications in 2015. The committee expressed the great challenge in selecting only 2 participants for this program. I believe that both Angela and Robert will benefit greatly from this cultural and professional experience and I look forward to seeing the results of their time in Beijing and the potential of future mentoring.”

McDougall and Tiatia will travel to China to commence their month-long residency in September 2015.


Artists’ Bios:

Angela Tiatia is a filmmaker, curator, and visual artist, exhibiting since 2010 after completing a Visual arts degree at Auckland University of Technology. Tiatia has lived in New Zealand, Australia and Samoa and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Tiatia’s art practice explores the shift in identity encountered by the Pacific Diaspora. Her work explores global contemporary cultures, drawing attention to their relationship to the construction of pacific cultural and sexual identity, the commodification of the body and place, representation, gender politics and neo-colonialism. Tiatia featured in the 2015 Video Platform at Art Stage Singapore, and is an invited artist in the Eighth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT 8), Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane in November 2015. Tiatia is represented by Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.

Robert McDougall (b. 1986, Melbourne) is an artist working across sound and installation. He has studied a range of compositional modes in electro-acoustic music, video and installation art. Robert is interested in the durational and reductionist temporal aesthetics of early minimalism and various folk traditions, attention to surface and textural detail, numinous spaces and the sublime. Previous exhibitions include Sixty-Five Abstracts 2015, NIICE Public Education, Otar Karalashvili, Tbilisi Art Books, Kiev, Ukraine (2015); Tanpura Study, Pepperhouse Residency Exhibition, Pepperhouse Studios, Kochi, India (2014); John Cage 101: Past, Present, Future Conference, UPSI, Tanjong Malim, Malaysia (2013); and TarraWarra Biennial 2012: Sonic Spheres, TarraWarra Museum of Art (2012).


Images: Angela Tiatia, Hibiscus Rosa Sinesis (still) 2010, single-channel digital video, 1:30 mins. Courtesy the Artist and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

Angela Tiatia, Liminality (still) 2014, single-channel digital video, 5:37 mins. Courtesy the Artist and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

Angela Tiatia, Walking the Wall (still) 2014, single-channel digital video, 13:05 mins. Courtesy the Artist and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

Robert McDougall, Hotel Windsor Study #2 (Triptych) 2013, HD video installation, sound (dimensions variable), 9:50 mins. Courtesy the artist.

Robert McDougall, In Memoriam to the Kayan Keledi 2013, metal, bamboo, glass, rubber, leather, linen, keledi, tv monitor, HD video (dimensions variable). Courtesy the artist.

Robert McDougall, Tanpura Study #2 (sa, ma, pa in C#) 2014, found ceramic pots, wiring, lights, speakers, cotton, television, DVD with sound (dimensions variable). Courtesy the artist.


4A’s Beijing Studio Program is an annual program of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Major supporter: Vicki Olsson.

ORIENTing: Ian Fairweather in Perth, Australia

Perth: Two new exhibitions ORIENTing: Ian Fairweather in Western Australian Collections curated by
Ted Snell (Director, Cultural Precinct, UWA) and Sally Quin (Curator, UWA) and ORIENTing: With Or Without You curated by Aaron Seeto (Director, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney) and Toby Chapman (Assistant Curator, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney) opened in early May 2013 at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, The University of Western Australia. With Or Without You features a number of prominent Australian artists including Newell Harry, Tom Nicholson, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Roy Wiggan, Tintin Wulia, and John Young.

According to the official media release:

ORIENTing is an exhibition in two parts, each exploring a different aspect of artistic engagement with Asia. ORIENTing: Ian Fairweather in Western Australian Collections gathers together for the first time a series of significant early works by Fairweather in Western Australian collections, focusing on the influence of Asian art and culture on the artist’s practice. A major artist of the twentieth century, Fairweather was Scottish born, though spent periods of his life in China, Bali, the Philippines, India and Australia. He was particularly fascinated by Chinese culture and this is reflected in the subject matter and style of his works, which indicate a strong fascination with calligraphy. The exhibition focuses on Fairweather’s early paintings from the 1930s and 1940s, which recall his experiences of travel.

ORIENTing: With or Without You is an exhibition of contemporary art by Australian artists which touches on similar themes, considering the significance of place, identity and landscape in a variety of art forms. Artists include Newell Harry, Tom Nicholson, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Roy Wiggan, Tintin Wulia, and John Young. While some artists respond directly to Ian Fairweather’s paintings, others reflect on the broader themes of cross-cultural engagement and interaction.

The exhibitions enable us to look at the past to provide an understanding of the present, and also to act as a lens onto the future by exploring our cultural relationship to our geographic region over a broad time span.

Additionally, in June 2013 the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery will launch a companion book including full-colour plates of all the works together with essays written by leading scholars and authors.

The exhibition is on from 4 May – 13 July 2013.

ORIENTing: Ian Fairweather in Western Australian Collections

ORIENTing: With Or Without You
4 May – 13 July 2013
Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery
The University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Hwy (cnr Fairway)
Crawley, Perth
Western Australia 6009
Ph: 08 6488 3707
Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery hours 11.00am to 5.00pm Tuesday to Saturday




What the Birds Knew features new large  scale works by internationally renowned Australian artists Ken + Julia Yonetani.

What the Birds Knew includes new sculptural works made from radioactive uranium glass. A 6-metre long green ant will threateningly loom over visitors to the gallery, and a large scale chandelier will be visible 24 hours a day. The use of UV lights will make the uranium glow green, giving the works an ominous energy.

These new visually stunning and highly provocative works arise out of the artists’ concerns over the recent nuclear tragedy in Fukushima. The title of the exhibition refers to the alternative title for Akira Kurosawa’s 1955 post-war film I Live in Fear, in which the central character declares that the birds would flee if they knew of the impending environmental threats.

What the Birds Knew reflects shared cultural expressions of environmental anxieties within Indigenous Australian and Japanese culture, and whether these function as either warnings or premonitions.

Ken and Julia Yonetani have exhibited widely in Australia and internationally. Ken Yonetani represented Australia at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, and Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art (SA) in 2008. Together they have exhibited at GV Art (London), Kone Foundation (Finland), NKV (Germany), Artereal Gallery (NSW), Art Gallery of New South Wales (NSW), Campbelltown Arts Centre (NSW), La Trobe University Museum of Art (VIC), Object Gallery (NSW), Gold Coast City Gallery (QLD), Jan Manton Art (QLD), and Rio Vista, Mildura (VIC).



ABC News

Sydney Morning Herald/Sun Herald by Andrew Taylor

View SMH Online Gallery

The Diary, Sydney Morning Herald by Scott Ellis

Metro, Sydney Morning Herald by Andrew Frost

The Australian by Bridget Cormack

Time Out Sydney, Critics Pick by Darryn King

the art life blog by Carrie Miller

Australia Council Artery Blog by Alex Bellemore

The Thousands by Bethany Small

Concrete Playground by Zacha Rosen

Daily Serving by Luise Guest

What the Birds Knew is supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW.

The artists are supported by The NSW Artists’ Grant. The NSW Artists’ Grant is a NAVA initiative, made possible through the support of Arts NSW and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

4A Exhibition at the Australia Council for the Arts

On Wednesday 15 February from 3-6pm, the Australia Council for the Arts will be hosting a small celebration for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s current exhibition on display in the foyer of the Australia Council.

The exhibition presents a selection of emerging, mid-career and established artists including Eric Bridgeman, Will French, Shen Shaomin, Cyrus Tang, Jason Wing and Soo Joo Yoo who examine the shifting cultural alignments between Asia and Australia.

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s curatorial approach has been to look at shifts in contemporary visual arts practice due to the increased mobility of ideas, skills and exchanges that occur within the vast socio-cultural networks of Asia and Australia. The artists’ work in this exhibition reflect these shifts. No longer is identity articulated simply from a position of cultural background and migration. It is also formed through technology, history, globalisation, economy, industry and the accumulation of cultural knowledge.

If you are in the area we hope you will join us for a drink. There will be brief talks about the show by curator Samuel Zammit and some of the participating artists.

The exhibition continues until 21 March 2012. The opening Hours for this exhibition are 8.30-5.30 Monday – Friday.


4A Exhibition at the Australia Council
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art exhibition at the Australia Council
Venue: Foyer of the Australia Council
Address: 372 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Opening Hours: 8.30-5.30 Monday – Friday



15 – 23 December 2011

Each year 4A presents the work of our Members to bring diverse practices together, and celebrate their support of 4A throughout the year. It is a unique opportunity for Members to share their talents with 4A’s creative community, and have their work seen by artists, curators, and other industry professionals.

Participating in 4A’s membership program is a unique way to connect with people who share a common interest in contemporary Asian and Australian art and culture.

The artists on exhibition include; Cindy Yuen-Zhe Chen, Robert Bennetts, Shoufay Derz, Helen Yip, Gabriella Courtenay, Jessica Bradford, Leone Burridge, Ayako Muyarajima, Liu Yi, John Lee, Pirapa Prathuangsukh, Tiali Zo, Jaime Khamphet, Kath Fries, Hong Tong, Phatawan Suwannakudt, Goran Tomic, Hyun-Hee Lee, pauline Plumb, Desmond Kok Hui Ong, Baiou Tang, Shuxia Chen, Michael J. Wright, Biron Vailer, Sarah Park, Li Cui, Akira Toyama, Jenny Yajun Wassell, Yiwon Park, Jacqueline Rose, Rone Waugh, Suey McEnnally, Sumugan Sivanesan, Jing Feng, Nicole M Barakat, Naomi Shedlezki, Karl W. Lu, Mandy Ridley, Mary costello, Vipoo Srivilasa, Jason Wing, Fx Harsono, Vernon Ah Kee, Catherine Cloran, Ellen Kent, Jim Peng, Monica Levy, Rhondda Xiao, Shazia Khabim, Digby Duncan, Jason sims, Melissa Ramos, Katherine Corcocra, Yeehwan Yeoh, Mari Kamolvutana, Craig Loxley, Paula Latos-Valier, Pamela See, Janet Haslett, Hidemi Tokutake, Trevor Fry, Chen Ying Ying, Mikyong Jung, Mike Turer, Petra Svoboda, Jayanto Damanik, terri Tang, Claudia Nichelson, Chloe Kang and Peter Fray.

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art announces new artist residency program for Australian artists to Beijing in the studios of art Shen Shaomin

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is proud to launch a residency program in Beijing supported by the renowned Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin.

In 2012, 4A will offer a month long residency program in China. This is 4A’s first international initiative for an artist from Australia. Selected through a competitive application process, the artist will be based at the artist studios of Shen Shaomin located in Beijing, presently China’s most vibrant epicentre for contemporary art.

Shen’s studios were set up a decade ago when he moved back to Beijing after years spent abroad in Australia. The expansive complex served as the site for contemplation and reflection on his cross cultural experiences. It is where he conceived much of the experimental and audacious installations which have been presented throughout the US, Europe, China and Australia in the past decade including his ‘Bonsai’ series and silica gel figures of former communist leaders at the 2010 Biennale of Sydney.

Shen is now keen to nurture creative experiences and new opportunities for Australian artists in his studio complex in Beijing. He is keen to give younger Australian artists access to new cultural networks as well as establishing productive connections between China and Australia.

Director Aaron Seeto says “Since 4A’s inception we have been dedicated to facilitating creative networks between Australia and the Asia-Pacific. We are proud to be working with one of the key Chinese-Australian artists who has been involved with 4A’s activities for over a decade. Since returning to Beijing, where he has developed a significant international profile, Shen Shaomin has been thinking very deeply about the type and quality of support that can be offered to Australian artists, and he has very generously offered his own studio as this cultural bridge. As we move through the Asian Century, it is important for artists and the cultural sector, as it is in other industries in Australia to have the opportunity to witness some of the big cultural changes taking shape in the region.”

Join the mailing list or become a 4A Member for notifications.


19 March 2011, 12:30 – 2:30pm

It Without A Blink is a major performance by Berlin-based artist Eunhye Hwang. The performance marked the opening of Constellation, an exhibition that brings together four Korean artists who live and work outside of Korea.

Hwang’s performances investigate communication through public interventions that draw on participatory engagement by an often unexpecting audience. For It Without A Blink, members of the audience are invited to register their names that will then be orchestrated into a complex  arrangement of movement and vocalisation by the artist and an eclectic group of singers and dancers, and performed back to them.

Huang’s previous notable performances include PS1 at MOMA, New York in 2010, Body and Eros Venice Biennale, SONAR  Kunstmuseum Celle, Germany and Insomnia Le Generateur, Paris in 2007.



11 February 2011, 8PM

Cinema Alley is a one-night only street cinema that showcases significant video works by contemporary Asian and Australia artists. It is an annual event that takes place during City of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival.

In 2011, Cinema Alley’s curated program explored the ideas of the city – their transformation, experiences of alienation and the effects that history and tradition place on the individual. The selection of works include leading artists Chen Chieh-Jen, Jun Yang, Ou Ning, Cao Fei, Wang Qingsong, Yuan Goang-ming. A selection of short animation works from local artists were also presented as a preview to the main screening.


San Yuan Li (2003)

Ou Ning and Cao Fei

San Yuan Li is a self-titled film about the small suburb of San Yuan Li in Guangzhou, China, directed by Ou Ning and Cao Fei in collaboration with young artists and filmmakers from the U-theque group. The film formed part of the Canton Express exhibition curated by Hou Hanru for the Venice Biennale in 2003. San Yuan Li was once a rural suburb on the outskirts of Guangzhou; however, with the expansion of the city, the suburb now finds itself at the cutting edge of real estate development. In an attempt to preserve their way of life, the people of San Yuan Li have refused to forfeit their land, forcing urban developers to build around the suburb.

The film is a metaphorical journey through China’s rapid modernisation that explores the powerful juxtaposition between the old suburb and the modern city, capturing the essence of disappearing local culture in the face of modernisation and urban development.  Shot in black and white, with no dialogue and rapidly edited scenes, the film gives the impression that modernity is an unnatural acceleration of development.


The Factory (2003)

Chen Chieh-Jen

The Factory is a film by artist and filmmaker Chen Chieh-Jen that reflects on the hardship faced by the factory workers of Taiwan. In 2003 seven years following its closure, Chen Chieh-Jen invited a group of ex-textile workers to return to the Lien Fu garment factory; a place where many members of the group had worked for over two decades.

Taiwan was once one of the world’s major manufacturing centres. However, during the 1990s many manufacturing companies in Taiwan began to move offshore in search for cheaper labour. As factories began to close, employees found themselves without work, laid-off by company owners who refused to pay retirement pensions and redundancy fees.

Many of the abandoned objects in the Lien Fu garment factory remain untouched since its closure in 1996, possessing, as Chen Chieh-Jen describes, a dual sense of time. This element of simultaneous time forms the narrative structure of The Factory. The film features women returning to work after seven years of absence, using their abandoned tools as though they had never left. As the camera scans the women at work, Chen Chieh Jen intermixes documentary footage of factory workers produced by the Taiwanese government during the 1960s. The women of the film chose not to speak. To emphasise the impact of this gesture, Chen Chieh-Jen decided to remove all sound from the film.


Floating (2000)

Yuan Goang-ming

Floating is a film by artist Yuan Goang-ming that presents the harrowing experience of a man adrift on a boat at sea. The film is an existentialist metaphor that reflects on human experience, investigating the consequences of temporal displacement, and the associated feelings of insignificance and emptiness that people encounter when confronted with a loss of orientation.


A Short Story on Forgetting and Remembering (2007)

Jun Yang

The film follows a man voicing his thoughts as he wonders the streets of Taipei at night. The film’s concept is based on implanted and collective memory (essentially, a process of brainwashing that involves the fabrication of an image or story, recited over-and-over again to the extent that one begins to believe that the image or story is an event that actually occurred) and the manipulative power this psychological condition endows on reality. The man reflects on his past experiences and life in the city, which he then uses as an analogy to explain the contemporary condition of Taipei and its historical relationship to Mainland China. A Short-Story on Forgetting and Remembering investigates how individuals and their localities are shaped through collective history and memory.


Skyscraper (2008)

Wang Qingsong.
The installation featured in the video is about 35 meters high, with a diameter of 45 meters, built by 40 workers within a month or so in Changping County, 30 miles north of Beijing. The scaffolding iron bars are painted with gold colour to make them look shiny and golden under the sunshine. This golden scaffolding signifies the glory/wonder of drastic changes in urbanisation drive. The soundtrack dubbed at the end of “Silent Night” melody together with colourful fireworks celebrating the Chinese New Year creates a very peaceful while melancholy world.

“Through this video piece, I want to analyse how dramatic social changes, in particular, in terms of skyscraper, happens in China and how it has nothing to do with humanity . This ‘Skyscraper’ is like a Greek genie that grows from a smoky ground and pops up drastically. The whole process of this scaffolding construction emulates the process of beginning to end construction of a potential building.”
-Wang Qingsong




14 January 2010

Kihara’s practice often develops platforms for inter-cultural discussion, by bringing together two musical or dance groups from different cultural backgrounds to develop performances in public spaces.


Shigeyuki Kihara is a Japanese/Samoan artist based in New Zealand. Kihara recently embarked on an ambitious set of performances based on a Samoan concept of Talanoa which roughly translates as “to chat or converse” and is also a practice of talking through matters of cultural and social importance. Kihara’s Talanoa series develops a platform for inter-cultural discussion, by bringing together two musical or dance groups from different cultural backgrounds. For Edge of Elsewhere, Kihara was commissioned by 4A to develop her fifth Talanoa: Walk the Talk performance on Dixon St, Chinatown working with local Chinese and Pacific Island communities.

Photo credit:
Talanoa: Walk the Talk #V, Sydney Cook Island Dance Group and the Australian Yau Kung Mun Association. Courtesy the artist. Commissioned by 4A