UNSW Art & Design and 4A present Clay Foundations: Can ceramics explore a national identity?



Panel discussion with Dr Wen-Hsi Harman, Ruth Ju-Shih Li, Jody Rallah, Bridie Moran, Professor Yu-Chieh Li, moderated by Professor Paul Gladston (UNSW)

Join artists exhibiting in 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s touring project Drawn by stonesDr Wen-Hsi Harman, Ruth Ju-Shih Li, Jody Rallah – along with exhibition curator Bridie Moran, Professor Yu-chieh Li of the Department of Visual Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, and moderator UNSW Art & Design’s Professor Paul Gladston, to discuss how clay can be a means of connecting to culture, land and identity – and challenging these concepts.

From July – September 2021, Drawn by stones is being staged at Counihan Gallery, Brunswick on sovereign Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung land. The exhibition brings together artists who utilise the ceramic medium to interrogate contested histories, stolen land, Indigenous sovereignty, and concepts of national identity. Exhibiting artists from Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan investigate the creation of a sense of ‘nationhood’ and ownership through ceramics and demonstrate how the ceramic form can both memorialise and tell alternative histories. Using the works within the Drawn by stones exhibition as an entry point into this dialogue, speakers will explore a range of ideas and relate their own experiences in the practice and consideration of ceramic tradition, materials and objects.  

4A’s talks series invites presenters to rethink, recharge and reimagine contemporary issues through the arts, academia, journalism and related fields. Presented in partnership with UNSW Art & Design and Counihan Gallery, Brunswick, this special edition of 4A Talks allows 4A partner with UNSW to include the voices of researchers in our artistic dialogue; and with exhibition partner Counihan Gallery, we are pleased to digitally connect with Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung lands including an introduction from Gallery Curator Victor Griss for this special event.

Speaker biographies

Ruth Ju-Shih Li is a ceramic artist generally working between Australia, China and Taiwan. She explores different ways of narrating both traditional and multicultural concepts of beauty, transcendence and the sublime. Li draws from her diverse philosophical and cultural heritage, and from the language of dreams, myths and utopias. A recurring motif is her meditation on the fragile nature of self in relation to the paradoxes of time, life, death and spirituality, extending onwards to consider the transitory nature of the human condition. Li has exhibited internationally in Taiwan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Turkey and Australia.

Jody Rallah is a descendant of the Biri Gubba, Yuggera and Warangu peoples. Rallah is an emerging contemporary Indigenous Australian Artist based in the unceded lands of Yuggera language nation, Brisbane. She employs a concept-led interdisciplinary practice which investigates how celebrating cultural wealth by creating ‘knowledge vessels’ as embodiments of living histories ranging from sculptural installations, to painting and performance, can generate ancestral healing. Her practice addresses living histories as vessels embedded in materiality, investigating how haptic processes of making can be used to create conversations spanning between generations; connecting community throughout the generations and opening dialogues of cultural exchange for hopefully futures.

Wen-Hsi 文曦 Harman was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and is a ceramic artist currently living and working in Bristol, United Kingdom. She also is a member of the UNESCO-International Academy of Ceramics IAC and NCECA National Council on Education for the ceramic arts. Wen-Hsi studied her BA in Chinese Literature at the Soochow University, Taipei, Taiwan (2006). After this she studied her first MA in Chinese History of art in the National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan (2008). After this she studied her second MA in Contemporary Crafts (Ceramics) at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, UK (2010). She has been awarded the degree of the Doctor of Philosophy in ceramics at Bath Spa University, UK (2018). Wen-Hsi has exhibited her work internationally in Taiwan, South Korea, Britain, Germany, France, China, Denmark and Australia.

Bridie Moran is an arts manager, editor and curator, working across unceded Awabakal and Gadigal lands. Bridie has worked for over a decade with contemporary art and cultural organisations, and is a current PhD candidate at UNSW Art & Design, researching the history of craft policy and ceramics practice. Bridie is Project Curator and Stakeholder Manager at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, delivering the major touring exhibition project Drawn by stones in 2021 and 2022; and is the Assistant Editor of The Journal of Australian Ceramics. Bridie has delivered a range of exhibitions, programs, public art projects and publications across Australia and the Asia region, and was from 2017-2018 Board Director at Sydney artist-run initiative Firstdraft.

Yu-Chieh Li is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Studies at Lingnan University. She has held research positions at UNSW Art and Design, Tate Research Centre: Asia, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Li’s research engages with aesthetics of performance art in Asia and postcolonial discourses. Her publications appear in Third TextWorld Art, and the MoMA’s art platform “post: notes on art in a global context,” with an edited volume Visual Representations of the Cold War and Postcolonial Struggles recently published by Routledge (co-edited with Midori Yamamura). Currently she is working on a book project examining affect and the artistic autonomy of post-socialist China.

Paul Gladston is the inaugural Judith Neilson Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He was previously Professor of Contemporary Visual Cultures and Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham (2015-2018) and, prior to that, Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham (2010-2015) and inaugural Head of the School of International Communications at the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China (2005-2010). Paul has written extensively on contemporary art and culture with respect to the concerns of critical/cultural theory. His numerous book-length publications include Contemporary Chinese Art: A Critical History (2014), awarded ‘best publication’ at the Awards of Art China (2015), and Contemporary Chinese Art, Aesthetic Modernity and Zhang Peili: Towards a Critical Contemporaneity (2019). He was an academic adviser to the internationally-acclaimed exhibition ‘Art of Change: New Directions from China’, Hayward Gallery-South Bank Centre, London (2012), and co-curator—with Dr Lynne Howarth-Gladston—of the exhibitions, ‘Dis/Continuing Traditions; Contemporary Video Art from China’, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, Tasmania (2021) and ‘New China/New Art: Contemporary Video from Shanghai and Hangzhou’, Djanogly Gallery, University of Nottingham (2015).

This event will feature a Welcome to Country to Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung lands, and an introduction to Counihan Gallery, Brunswick from Curator Victor Griss

Victor Griss is the Gallery Curator at the Counihan Gallery in Brunswick. Leading a small, committed team for over 7 years, Victor has overseen the expansion and upgrade of the gallery, delivered an engaged annual exhibition program, led a new five-year gallery strategic plan, fostered relationships with the local arts community and public gallery sector, and developed the Moreland Art Collection. He previously held collections, curatorial and managerial roles at Deakin University Art Gallery. Victor holds a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts (Museums and Collections) from the Australian National University and an Honours degree in Visual Art from Northern Territory University. He was awarded a Post Graduate Scholarship from the National Museum of Australia and has previously been a board member of The City of Whitehorse Visual Arts Committee, the Czech and Slovak Film Festival of Australia and The School of Art Advisory Committee, RMIT.

This event is presented in partnership with: UNSW Art & Design, Counihan Gallery in Brunswick, Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office Sydney

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UNSW Art & Design and 4A present Survival Aesthetics: On Post Contemporary Art Practice in Japan


Panel discussion with Yuko Hasegawa, Yuki Okumura and Jesse Hogan, moderated by Prof. Paul Gladston

Join artist and academic Jesse Hogan, Director of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa and professor in Curatorial Studies, Graduate School of Global Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts Yuko Hasegawa and artist Yuki Okumura for a discussion moderated by Prof. Paul Gladston, Judith Neilson Chair of Contemporary Art at the University of New South Wales.

This panel discussion will explore topics and subjects for critical consideration under the speculative framework of the Post Contemporary Condition proposed in the research treatise Survival Aesthetics completed by Jesse Hogan at Tokyo University of the Arts in 2019. Building upon previous interviews, this conversation will expand upon the ruminations of contemporary art practice and the conceptual methodologies contained within Hogan’s forthcoming publication Survival Aesthetics © Interview Series. The publication promotes cross-cultural discourse between Japanese academics, artists and writers, investigating issues of artistic practice relevant to Japanese, Australian and international audiences of contemporary art.

Speaker biographies

hasegawa (2)

Yuko Hasegawa | 長谷川 祐子 is a curator, academic, writer, arts and cultural worker and current Director of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa and professor in Curatorial Studies, Graduate School of Global Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts. Hasegawa’s previous roles include Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2016–2021),  Curator of the 7th Moscow Biennale (2017), 11th Sharjah Biennale (2013), Co-Curator of 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), and Artistic Director of the 7th International Istanbul Biennial (2001). From 1999 to 2006, as Chief Curator and then Artistic Director, Hasegawa contributed significantly to the establishment of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa as a model for a new kind of “open 21st-century art museum” via her involvement in development of the museum’s concept, design of the museum building in collaboration with architectural unit SANAA, and building of the collection.

Okumura Yuki (2)

Inspired by the peculiar subjectivity of the translator, Yuki Okumura | 奥村 雄樹 explores the essential parallelity of worlds and the primary interconnectedness between individuals through overlaps and gaps amongst different artists, often including himself, in terms of work and/or life. As of September 2021, Okumura is appointed as a PhD researcher at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp to perform a quadrennial project titled Any Body, My Self: Conceptual Art and Personhood, which rediscovers the methodology of conceptual artists of the ’60s and ’70s to reduce their personality to the limit as a program with potential double effects: simultaneously towards revealing one’s ‘corporeal self’ and regaining the state of ‘self-other unity’.


Jesse Hogan | ホーガン・ジェシー is a writer and contemporary artist originating from Sydney. Hogan works across multiple mediums with a particular interest in art spaces as critical sites of spatial, cultural, aesthetic, and socio-political development. Understanding the exhibition conditions as non-neutral, Hogan plays with a host of artistic practices that engage with installation as a complex topography of art language and connection. He has completed a Doctoral Degree in Fine Arts at Tokyo University of the Arts (2020), a Masters of Fine Arts at Tokyo University of the Arts (2017), A Masters of Art Education at the University of Western Sydney (2009), and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) at the Sydney College of the Arts (2005).

PG (2)

Prof. Paul Gladston | ポール・グラッドストン教授 is the inaugural Judith Neilson Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of New South Wales and was previously Professor of Contemporary Visual Cultures and Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham. Paul has written extensively on contemporary Chinese art with regard to the concerns of critical theory and, in doing so, has been formative on the development of a critically informed contemporary Chinese art studies both internationally and inside China. His recent book-length publications include Contemporary Chinese Art: A Critical History (2014), which received ‘publication of the year’ at the Awards of Art China 2015. He was founding principal editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art from 2014 to 2017 and an academic adviser to the internationally acclaimed exhibition Art of Change: New Directions from China staged at the Hayward Gallery-South Bank Centre London in 2012.

Presented by The Japan Foundation, Sydney and UNSW | Art & Design in partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

Survival Aesthetics © Interview Series is supported by The Japan Foundation, Sydney

Lunchtime artist talk: I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion


Join us for a free online artist talk series to coincide with the exhibition I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2. Facilitated by co-curator Mikala Tai, these creative conversations invite audiences to watch or listen in over lunchtime breaks.


  • 25 August, 12:30-1:00 pm AEST – Abdul-Rahman Abdullah
  • 1 September, 12:30-1:00 pm AEST -Leyla Stevens
  • 8 September, 12:30-1:00 pm AEST -To be announced

This is an Auslan interpreted series.

Register for the Zoom talk series here.

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, in partnership with the International Curators Forum (ICF) and Campbelltown Arts Centre, presents I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2 from 22 May – 17 October 2021. The virtual exhibition considers the navigations, imaginings and lived experiences of six artists based in Australia, the UK and the Caribbean: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Lindy Lee, Leyla Stevens, Zadie Xa and Daniela Yohannes.

Curated by Adelaide Bannerman, Mikala Tai and Jessica Taylor, the exhibition is an ongoing project that explores the distinct and shared reality of living at a distance to ancestral homes. Belonging to a diaspora means that connection to these ancestral homes is often maintained through memories, myths and traditions.  I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2 is as much an exhibition as it is a research project, underpinned by fieldwork and reviews of how artists, curators, theorists and institutions engage with diaspora as a topic.

Click here to learn more about the exhibition.

View the virtual exhibition below.


About the speakers:

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah (b. Port Kembla, Australia 1977 lives and works in Perth, Australia) is a sculptor whose practice explores the different ways that memory can inhabit and emerge from familial spaces. Drawing on the narrative capacity of animal archetypes, crafted objects and the human presence, Abdullah aims to articulate physical dialogues between the natural world, politics and the agency of culture. Recent exhibitions include The National, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2019), Dark Horizons, Pataka Art + Museum, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand (2017) and Magic Object; Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art, Adelaide, Australia (2016).

Leyla Stevens (b. Cooroy, Australia 1982, lives and works between Bali, Indonesia and Sydney, Australia) is an Australian-Balinese artist and researcher who works predominantly within moving image and photography. Her practice is informed by ongoing concerns around gesture, ritual, spatial encounters, transculturation and counter histories. Working within modes of representation that shift between the documentary and speculative fictions, her work deals with a notion of counter archives and alternative genealogies. In 2021, Leyla Stevens was awarded the 66th Blake Prize for her work Kidung/Lament. Recent exhibitions include her solo presentations Dua Dunia, curated by Rachel Ciesla, at PS Art Space, Perth Festival (2021), A Line in the Sea, West Space, Melbourne, PHOTO 21 Festival (2021), Their Sea is Always Hungry, UTS Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2019). Recent group exhibitions include The National 2021, Art Gallery of News South Wales (2021), Breathing Room (collaboration with Woven Kolektif), Cement Fondue, Sydney, Australia (2019), BEAUT 19, Brisbane & Elsewhere Art UnTriennial, Brisbane, Australia (2018) and the John Fries Award, UNSW Galleries, Sydney, Australia (2018).

Mikala Tai is a curator, researcher and academic specialising in Australian and Asian art and is currently the Head of Visual Arts at the Australia Council for the Arts. Most recently she was the Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art where she collaborated with local, national and international organisations to strengthen ties between Australia and Asia. Recent curatorial projects include ‘Nusra Latif Qureshi: Strategies of Intent’ (2019), ‘Xiao Lu: Impossible Dialogue’ (2019) co-curated with Claire Roberts and Xu Hong and ‘Justine Youssef: All Blessings, All Curses’ (2018). She has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate level at Monash University, Melbourne University and Royal Melbourne Institute for Technology and regularly contributes to publications and catalogues such as ‘Abdul-Rahman Abdullah: Everything is True’ (John Curtin Gallery, 2021), ‘She Persists’ (NGV, 2020), Ocula, Art Collector, Art Monthly, Vault and Photofile. In 2015 she received her PhD from UNSW Art & Design examining the influence of the Global City on China’s local art infrastructure.

Honey Point x CLUB 4A [POSTPONED]

Honey Point x CLUB 4A

Dynasty Karaoke

Level 1, 63 Dixon Street, Haymarket NSW 2000

Saturday, 14 August

8pm – 4am 

Update: 17 July, 2021
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is committed to protecting the health and safety of our community and staff by helping to minimise the spread of COVID.

In line with NSW Health’s recent announcement with Sydney lockdown regulations, we have made the difficult decision to postpone Honey Point X CLUB 4A on Saturday 14 August.

We will update the public and ticket-holders once we’re able to publicly announce a new date for Honey Point X CLUB 4A later this year. Current ticket-holders will be notified, with refunds available within 7 days of reply. For any enquiries, please contact 4A on hello[@]4A.com.au

– From the 4A Team

Curated by 4A in collaboration with Honey Point, CLUB 4A in 2021 will see some of the city’s most magnetic Asian Australian talent in the dance music and performance community. This collaboration is a manifestation of what many of us have been deprived of: intimacy and celebration of bodies in motion. 

Blending global club sounds that are urgent and forward thinking, Naarm-based C.Frim will grace audiences with her fearless and boundary pushing drum-driven cuts. Co-headlining the event is up-and-coming Korean hip-hop act 1300, known for their energetic, infectious and hard-hitting performances. 

Honey Point x CLUB 4A will also showcase music from Kenyan-Australian artist and co-founder of ANTE, Kiminza, whose warm and considered stylings explore QTIPOC past, present and future in their multiple and interwoven forms. Club chameleon Jhassic will be serving Regal Realness weaving his fine layering of Southeast Asian sounds, RnB, house and hip hop. Gamilaraay woman crescendoll, a graduate of FBi’s 2020 Dance Class program, flirts with juke, jersey, bounce and club in her sets.

Gluing the music together are Honey Point residents Dame and Deepa – collectively known as Sydney’s jazzy sweethearts. As the host of Saturday Sunsets, Deepa is known for her weaponising oddball selections that are often leftfield, but always hot and dangerous. Dame doesn’t know how to follow rules; constantly pushing boundaries and throwing audiences off with her unique layering of styles; watch for the flick of her wrists. Together their DJing is totally infectious. 

Honey Point x CLUB 4A will also feature memorable performances from artists Radha, Ramashon and RED REY, moving in tandem with DJ sets throughout the evening. 

Honey Point x CLUB 4A will amplify your senses by bringing visual art into the club featuring luminous works by Kalanjay Dhir and Athena Thebus, and live visuals courtesy of Alvin Ruiyuan Zhong

Poster design and event art created by Bobby Vibe Positive.

This event is supported by Create NSW. In the event of a Covid-19 lockdown, all ticket sales will be refunded.

Artist Biographies


1300 subverts expectations of what it means to be a Korean rap crew. Founded in a garage in Sydney’s west, 1300 are a five-member crew formed by multi-talented friends Nerdie, Rako, PokariSweat, Goyo and Dali Hart. Their latest single ‘No Caller iD’ received praise from both the Aussie and Korean scene for it’s refreshing take on hip-hop. The group’s style is honest, exciting and eclectic, representative of a deep connection with their upbringing as Korean-Australians with varying tastes in music. 1300 thrives as a self-sustaining creative entity with an exhilarating live energy. Above all, the goal is to connect with a community of like-minded individuals and champion creative freedom. 

C.Frim bellows a massive sound, spinning drum-driven cuts that step, bounce, sway and shuffle. As a DJ, she draws from her own singular blueprint – with taste shaped by her perspective as a member of the Ghanaian-Filipina diaspora, growing up on a healthy diet of hybridized musical styles, ripping tracks of youtube as a teenager, and watching jerk and dougie videos. C.Frim blends global club sounds that are urgent and forward-thinking, while evoking deep feelings of nostalgia. Her eclecticism reflects an artist and DJ with a confidence in vision and a desire to keep pushing boundaries, collapsing walls between cultural silos and championing her own refreshingly distinct style.

Gamilaraay woman and Danny L Harle enthusiast, crescendoll loves big beats and bigger sax solos. A grad of FBi’s 2020 Dance Class program, she flirts with juke, jersey, bounce and club. She’s a lawyer by day and plays way too much netball by night. You’ve probably seen her at gigs before – come say hi, she doesn’t bite.

Producer/DJ/artist and club kameleon – Jhassic finds the common ground between chunky Chicago house and rap, all while weaving traditional South Asian instrumentation throughout. What comes from his careful curation is an eclectic sound infused with familiar beats, historical documents and loads of energy. 

Kiminza is a Kenyan-Australian artist and co-founder of ANTE, based on unceded Gadigal land. They focus their energy towards community, basing their creative practice on the exploration of QTIPOC past, present and future in their multiple and interwoven forms. Using rhythm to explore bodies and space, Kiminza finds their flow in both audible and written realms


Radha aka Shahmen Suku is a performance artist based in Sydney who explores ideas of racial, religious and cultural identity, gender roles, the home and the kitchen, food and storytelling. Growing up in a modern matriarchal Indian family in Singapore, Shahmen processes his sense of displacement from home as Radha, the Diva from India. Moving to Australia has given Shahmen multiple perspectives on migration, culture, race, colonisation and gender identity. Shahmen discusses these issues openly through his alter ego, Radha, sharing stories the way she learnt them from his mother’s kitchen. Radha’s multifaceted practice has also seen them perform/host numerous music festivals and events, presented in Art Exhibitions, shows and workshops for kids and also a chef on the ABC’s The Set. He currently lives and works in Australia.

Model, designer, performer – Brown & Gold, Twirling & Whirling, Soft & Femme – Ramashon is an all-round creative being that exudes style, grace and beauty. Gliding like silk as they move through space, Ramashon enchants their audience with their sultry style and sensual energy.

RED REY is a DJ, performance artist and event producer. They are a founder of ANTE, a QTIPOC (queer, trans, intersex & people of colour) arts collective which curates’ events that focus on de-colonising the nightlife scene. Alongside Dyan Tai, they are also a producer of Worship Queer Cabaret, an event that showcases the performers unique identities and cultural backgrounds, through live art, dance, and music. They identify as genderqueer and of Flipinx background. Their gender identity is expressed through androgynous, binary transcending costumes. This extends to music and dance style, which is influenced largely by the ballroom/vogue communities pioneered by trans women of colour.  As a DJ, they are best known for mixing techno, acid and industrial music with queer, club and world sounds. Red Rey has recently performed locally and interstate for the likes of Club Mince, BARBA, Leak Your Own Nudes and Heaps Gay.


Alvin Ruiyuan Zhong is a Sydney-based artist working across creative coding, video, illustration and 3D and pixel animation in both physical and digital media. Zhong’s work explores contemporary rave culture within Australia, reinterpreting production, stage design VJ-ing and event and club theory.

Athena Thebus is an artist who uses sculpture, drawing and writing to explore notions of  Desire.

Kalanjay Dhir is an artist and failed (try-hard) viral content creator based on unceded Darug Land (Sydney aka the 2K). Dhir’s work draws on narratives in popular culture, sci-fi and spiritual texts, exploring mythological and speculative technologies through sculpture, video and internet objects. He thinks about what the world would look like if we built things with a secular devotion. Dhir is a current resident of Parramatta Artists Studios. In 2019 he set up Pari, an artist-run space in Western Sydney. Alongside Kilimi he hosts ‘Sunset with 2K’ on FBi Radio.


Honey Point (Dame + Deepa) have safely solidified their place in the Sydney underground dance scene as ‘Sydney’s Sweethearts’. Placing an emphasis on all things jazz and house, these two are cleaving a path for a vibe almost undiscovered and a community yet to flourish. 

Having played alongside artists such as Carista, CC:DISCO, Harvey Sutherland, Jitwam, Horatio Luna and Allysha Joy (to name a few), the Honey Point pair have earned themselves a reputation for creating high energy, love-filled and groovy sets. With selections tangential to jazz and house, you can expect to hear sounds spanning from liquid to dub, Chicago through to acid house and perhaps a drop of pop.

Through a collective goal for wider community engagement, this femme-fronted initiative seeks to create a platform for those less represented in the underground Sydney music scene. With a finger in more than one [honey] pot, Honey Point have thrown club nights, DIY warehouse parties and brunches, with aims to expand and evolve their repertoire in increasingly creative ways.