4A x Sahtein Lebanese Feasts Cooking Class

SYDNEY. THURS NOV 29, 6.00 – 8.30PM

On Thursday November 29, join artist Justine Youssef and her mother Siham Chamoun for a special one-off cooking class. Siham is the amazing brains behind Sahtein Lebanese Feasts, an Instagram account which documents traditional Arabic recipes and intimate familial stories related to her village in Lebanon. She provided our wonderful mezze platters at Justine’s 4A opening, as well as the breakfast spread at the Manoosheh Breakfast Tour.

From 6PM, join us at 4A to learn how to make Warak Enab – delicious, rice-stuffed grape leaves – and join your classmates, Justine and her mum for a light dinner.

Places for this special workshop are strictly limited to 10 participants and tickets are $60, inclusive of all cooking materials, instructions, light dinner and drinks.

This program is presented as part of 4A’s current exhibition, Justine Youssef: All Blessings, All Curses.

Please Explain: Why is My Curriculum White? Panel Discussion

SYD. 22 NOV – 6.30-8.00PM

Please Explain: Why is My Curriculum White? Panel Discussion
Thursday 22 November 2018

Moderator: Justine Youssef
Speakers: Alissar Chidiac , Dr Jason De Santolo , Jennine Khalik, Dr Omid Tofighian
4A’s series Please Explain invites presenters to rethink, recharge and reimagine contemporary issues through the arts and academia. In response to the Why Is My Curriculum White campaign this edition of Please Explain considers Omid Tofighian’s article in The Conversation that challenges our education system to rethink and reframe Eurocentric norms that currently provide the foundations from which to learn. Joining him are Sydney based community workers and artists who base their practices in diversifying ideas of ‘the norm’ and seek to tell complex, diverse and sometimes paradoxical stories of who we are today. This conversation is led by Justine Youssef, who has curated this panel as part of her 4A exhibition, Justine Youssef: All Blessings, All Curses.

Missed the event? Listen to the audio recording below:

Speaker Profiles:

 | Moderator: Justine YOUSSEF

| Justine YOUSSEF is currently living on the unceded territory of the Darug peoples. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art from the National Art School, Sydney, Australia and is currently working from the Parramatta Artist Studios. She has been awarded the New South Wales Artists’ Grant (NAVA and Create NSW), as well as a studio residency at Blacktown Arts. She has held collaborative solo exhibitions at Seventh Gallery, Melbourne, and Firstdraft, Woolloomooloo with Duha Ali in 2018, and has participated in group exhibitions at Airspace Projects, Marrickville; Bankstown Art Center, Bankstown; Sullivan+Strumpf, Zetland; and Collab Gallery, Chippendale. Her work can be found in the collections of the National Association for the Visual Arts; the National Art School Drawing Archive; and the Sydney Gallery School.

 | Alissar CHIDIAC

| Alissar Chidiac has been working in different contexts of community and cultural engagement for almost 40 years. Since 1991 her focus has been on Arab Australian cultures, through contemporary cultural production, cultural heritage and performance work. She worked at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney (1998-2004) where she initiated a diversity of critical projects, innovative exhibitions and Arab community partnerships through the ‘wattan project’. She creatively developed model programs with Auburn Community Development Network, including ‘Inside Out_Muslim Women Exploring Identities and Creative Expressions’ (2005-2007) and ‘Moving Calligraphy_Visual Storytelling’ (2009-2010) bringing together artists of Arabic and Chinese calligraphies and local Aboriginal artists. In 2011-2012 she was Creative Producer of Casula Powerhouse Art Centre’s national initiative ‘No Added Sugar: Engagement and Self-Determination: Australian Muslim Women Artists’. Alissar worked as Creative Producer with ‘Auburn Cartographies of Diversity’ (2015-2017) activating community engagement and producing local exhibitions in Auburn. She has also been contracted by Fairfield City Council in 2017-2018 to facilitate professional development and mentorship programs with emerging artists and community members. Alissar and Maissa Alameddine are currently Artist Coordinators with Arab Theatre Studio Creative Hub in Granville, supported by Cumberland Council, through Create NSW’s ‘Making Spaces’ program. Alissar initiated Arab Theatre Studio in 2014, after a Space Residency with Urban Theatre Projects in 2013. In 2005 Alissar was awarded a two-year Fellowship by the Community Cultural Development Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. In 2010 she won the annual ‘Ros Bower Award’, honouring a lifetime contribution to community arts and cultural development. 


| Dr Omid Tofighian is a lecturer, researcher and community advocate, combining philosophy with interests in rhetoric, religion, popular culture, transnationalism, displacement and discrimination. He completed his PhD in Philosophy at Leiden University, the Netherlands, and graduated with a combined honours degree in Philosophy and Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney. Omid has lived variously in the UAE where he taught at Abu Dhabi University; Belgium where he was a visiting scholar at K.U. Leuven; the Netherlands for his PhD; and intermittent periods in Iran for research. His current roles include Honorary Research Associate for the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney; faculty at Iran Academia; and campaign manager for Why Is My Curriculum White? – Australasia.’ He contributes to community arts and cultural projects and works with asylum seekers, refugees and young people from Western Sydney. He has published numerous book chapters and journal articles and is author of Myth and Philosophy in Platonic Dialogues (Palgrave 2016) and translator of Manus by Behrouz Boochani (Picador 2017).

Jennine KHALIK

| Jennine Khalik is a Sydney-based journalist and digital producer at the ABC. She was formerly a reporter with the national broadsheet The Australian, in news and art, and with NewsLocal.


| Dr Jason De Santolo (Garrwa and Barunggam) is a researcher, creative producer & father committed to forging a sustainable world for future generations through transformative research strategies, storytelling & practices of renewal. Born in Larrakia homelands – Darwin, he moved to Aoteaoroa/NZ at an early age, and studied treaty & international environmental law. His unique research practice integrates video, creative practice & renewal strategies through a Garrwa driven decolonising research paradigm. In 2014 he received a UTS Research Excellence Scholarship and graduated in 2018 with a creative doctorate that explores the renewal of song traditions through his passion for filmmaking & collective aspirations for self determination.

Artists’ Christmas Car Boot Sale

SYDNEY. 6 DEC 2018, 5.00 – 9.00PM

The Artists’ Christmas Car Boot Sale is curated by Sydney-based artist Garry Trinh. Descend to the lower levels of World Square to encounter established and emerging artists. Step into cars transformed into mini galleries and fossick in boots for one-off original art just in time for Christmas. Think driver-seat seances, artworks delivered straight from the studio and intimate car boot performances.

Featuring DJ Coris, refreshments and a pop-up Gift Wrapping service with all proceeds being donated to Wesley Mission to tackle homelessness in Sydney, this will be a Christmas Market like no other!

Featured cartist boots include:

The Car Boot Sale will take place on Thursday 6 December, 2018 on Level 5 of World Square Shopping Centre (644 George St, Sydney NSW 2000).



Garry Trinh (born Sydney,  Australia and lives and works in Sydney, Australia) is an artist working in photography, video, painting and works on paper. He holds a BA in Psychology and a BA in Visual Communications / Photography and Digital Imaging from the University of Western Sydney.

Trinh was the winner of the Sydney Life photography prize in 2007 and won the Auburn Mayoral Photographic Prize in 2009 and 2010. His photo book Just Heaps Surprised to be Alive was nominated for Photography Book of the Year at the 4th International Photo book Festival at Kassel, Germany. From 2017-2018 Trinh was a full time tenant at Parramatta Artists Studios. His work is collected by the Art Gallery of NSW and Artbank. He has been exhibited at the Australian Centre for Photography, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Blacktown Arts Centre, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Stills Gallery, Gallery 4A and many others.

Trinh makes art about the uncanny, unexpected and spontaneous moments in daily life and to express his personal ideas. He is perplexed by the perception of artists as coffee-drinking loafers who work whenever they feel like it. He doesn’t even drink coffee. His works are about a way of looking at the world, to reveal magic in the mundane. He is never bored and never late.


Exhibition Opening: Justine Youssef: All Blessings, All Curses

SYD. THURSDAY 1 NOV – 6.00-8.00PM


Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Chair of the Board of 4A, and
Mikala Tai, Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
invite you to join us at the opening of:

Justine Youssef: All Blessings, All Curses
Exhibition opening: 6-8PM, Thursday 1 November
To be officially opened by artist Lindy Lee.

You are invited to join 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on Thursday, 1 November as we open the exhibition Justine Youssef: All Blessings, All Curses.

All Blessings, All Curses presents recent and newly commissioned works by Sydney-based artist, Justine Youssef. Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Youssef’s practice explores the stifling white heat of global xenophobia with deeply personal and universal ruminations that layer the smell, sights and textures of her ancestral homeland, Lebanon.

This opening event starts at 6:00PM with drinks and an opening address.

Click to RSVP to this special event by Friday 19 October.

Exhibition runs 2 November – 16 December 2018.
Curated by Mikala Tai. Curatorial Assistant Tian Zhang.

#AllBlessingsAllCurses @4a_Aus

Image above: Duha Ali and Justine Youssef, 2018, Kohl (still), single channel video, 4:18; courtesy the artists.

Manoosheh Breakfast Tour

SYD. SATURDAY 3 NOV – from 10.30AM

Join artist Justine Youssef and curator Mikala Tai for a tour of All Blessings, All Curses followed by a Sobhiyeh – Lebanese Breakfast – in the gallery. Hear from the artist about the process of developing this series of works over a traditional Lebanese breakfast of za’atar manoosheh, labneh and olives.
$25 (+bf) includes breakfast. Book here.

Family Workshop: Garden Worlds with Kai Wasikowski


Join Sydney-based artist Kai Wasikowski to make your own garden image and turn it into a beautiful ‘sun-print’ photograph, inspired by the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Drop into the gardens between 11-1pm on Mon 8, Tue 9, or Thu 11 October to learn how to use materials to make a botanical scene.

Have fun developing your “gardening” skills, arrange your own garden scene using plants, then create a take-home ‘nature’ photograph using the sun, whilst exploring the plants, colours and textures of the Garden of Friendship.
With professional photographer and artist Kai, you’ll make a blue and white print, ready to frame display at home! Whether you stay for 15 minutes or the full two hours this fun workshop will help you create a botanical print and learn basic photographic principles.
For participants aged between 5-12 years, accompanied by a responsible adult. All materials provided, drop in session, no bookings required. Garden Worlds is produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with Kai Wasikowski and the Chinese Garden of Friendship for the October 2018 school holidays program.

Hungry Ghost Festival: The Burrangong Affray


On the final weekend of The Burrangong Affray and to mark the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, join artist Jason Phu in collaboration with Eugene Choi for a special lion dance performance.

There will also be an opportunity to contribute to the offerings to be made when the artists next visit the township of Young.

For more information about The Burrangong Affray click here.

Artist Biographies: 

Eugene Choi (b. 1993, Sydney, Australia; lives and works in Sydney) is a performance-based artist whose practice has evolved around the physicality of constructing internal and external structures working across sculpture, performance, installation, video and text. Often influenced by the body in movement, Choi’s practice travels between controlled and uncontrolled states by engaging herself in unfamiliar, yet composed situations, relying on the live response of her physical and emotional body. A self-made system of geometry becomes integral between objects, bodies and space, attempting to achieve equilibrium.

Jason Phu (b.1989, Sydney, Australia; lives and works in Sydney) studied at COFA, Sydney graduating with honours in 2011 and NSCAD, Nova Scotia. He works across a range of mediums from installation, painting and sculpture where he traces the connections between the tradition of Chinese brush and ink painting and contemporary practice. His work has been informed by several China based residencies at CAFA, Beijing; DAC Studios, Chongqing; and Organhaus, Chongqing which has enabled him to further investigate the tradition of calligraphy. Recently Jason has had numerous solo exhibitions in Australia including Westspace, Melbourne; Nicholas Projects, Melbourne; CCAS Gorman Arts Centre, Canberra; and ALASKA PROJECTS, Sydney. He won the coveted Sulman Prize in 2015 and in the same year received a Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship which allowed him to develop his practice between China and Australia.



hungry_ghost_01 hungry_ghost_03 hungry_ghost_09 hungry_ghost_13 hungry_ghost_16 hungry_ghost_27 hungry_ghost_30 hungry_ghost_48

All images: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

The Burrangong Affray: Jason Phu and John Young Zerunge has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Header image: Jason Phu, In the morning I wake the rooster. In the afternoon I drive across the mountains & waters. At night I cut all my ties, 2018, multimedia installation, dimensions variable; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art for The Burrangong Affray: Jason Phu and John Young Zerunge. Image: Document Photography.



Please Explain: ‘Census, Map, Museum’


| Moderator: Pedro DE ALMEIDA

| Speakers: Rushdi ANWAR; Alana HUNT; Associate Professor Phillip GEORGE; Djon MUNDINE, OAM; Sarker PROTICK

| 4A’s series Please Explain invites presenters to rethink, recharge and reimagine contemporary issues through the arts and academia. Responding to Temporary Certainty presented at 4A this edition of Please Explain seeks to examine ideas and issues around nationalisms, sovereignty and memorialisation.

Join artists Rushdi Anwar, Alana Hunt and Sarker Protick alongside speakers Associate Professor Philip George and Djon Mundine OAM who will take a key premise articulated by political scientist and historian Benedict Anderson in his seminal text Imagined Communities (1983) as a jumping off point for a broad discussion.

Reading Recommendations:


Speaker Profiles:


| Pedro is Program Manager at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and exhibition curator, Temporary Certainty.

| Rushdi ANWAR 

| Rushdi Anwar (b. Halabja, Kurdistan) is a Melbourne-based artist, currently working between Australia and Thailand. His installation, sculpture, painting, photo-painting and video work often reflect on socio-political issues relating to Kurdistan, Iraq and the Middle East. He explores these issues through an investigation of form, utilising a material vocabulary and different processes of making. Anwar was educated in Kurdistan and Australia, studying at the Institute of Kirkuk- Kurdistan and Enmore Design Centre/Sydney Institute. He holds a Master of Fine Art (2010) and a PhD in Fine Art (2016) from RMIT University, Melbourne. He has held solo and group exhibitions widely in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, France, Japan, Kurdistan, Norway, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and USA. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include 12th Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2018), and the 13th Havana Biennial, Cuba (2019). Anwar’s works are held in the collections of the Australian War Memorial, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and in private collections. He has curated exhibitions in Kurdistan (2010), Thailand (2012, 2015), and Australia (2013). Following several artist-in-residence programs in Thailand, he co-founded and co-coordinated the Australian Thai Artist Interchange, Melbourne (2012–2016), an organisation founded to enhance cross-cultural exchange, awareness and appreciation of art and culture between Thais and Australians. Rushdi is a founding member, with Brook Andrew and Shiraz Bayjoo, of the artist collective The Working Collection.

| Alana HUNT 

| Alana Hunt (b. 1984, Sydney) makes contemporary art, writes and produces culture through a variety of media across public, gallery and online spaces. She lives on Miriwoong country in the north-west of Australia and has a long-standing engagement with South Asia. The politics of nation making and the colonial past and present of Australia and South Asia are central to her practice. Since 2009, she has orchestrated participatory art and publishing projects that have activated different media forms in the public sphere to shed light on Kashmir. Paper txt msgs from Kashmir (2009–2011) prompted media in India and Pakistan to speak about a state-wide mobile phone ban they had previously been silent on. This work won the Fauvette Laureiro Artist Scholarship. In 2016, the seven-year participatory memorial Cups of nun chaicirculated as a newspaper serial in Kashmir, reaching thousands of people on a weekly basis during a period of civilian uprising and state oppression. This work won the 2017 Incinerator Art Award. Her essay, A mere drop in the sea of what is, published by 4A Papers (Issue 1, November 2016), explored the art circulating on the ‘streets of social media’ in Kashmir and made it into the Hansard Report of the Australian Parliament. In 2018, Alana undertook a residency in Sulawesi with Rumata Art Space & the Makassar International Writers’ Festival and will present Cups of nun chai at Tufts University Art Gallery, Massachusetts, and a series of artists presentations at Tufts, Brown, and Parsons universities. Her work is held in both public and private collections including Artbank and the Macquarie Group Collection.

| Associate Professor Phillip GEORGE  

| UNSW’s Associate Professor Phillip George’s practice operates across zones of cultural difference, exploring and making connections between the complexities that exist between East and West. His work draws connections between Australian beach culture and the fractured, turbulent zones of the Middle East. George has exhibited widely over the past thirty years with exhibitions throughout Australia, Europe, America and Asia. In 2008 George produced his seminal exhibition, Borderlands at the Casula Powerhouse in Sydney, NSW. His work is in private and public collections in Australia and internationally.

| Speaker: Djon MUNDINE OAM  

| Djon Mundine OAM, member of the Bandjalung people of northern New South Wales, is a curator, writer, artist and activist. He has held prominent curatorial positions in many national and international institutions, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and Queensland Art Gallery. Between 1979 and 1995 he was the Art Advisor at Milingimbi and Ramingining in the Northern Territory. He was the concept artist of the Aboriginal Memorial at the National Gallery of Australia in 1988. In 1993 he received the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the promotion and development of Aboriginal arts, crafts and culture. In 2005-2006 he was Research Professor at The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) in Osaka, Japan. He is currently an independent curator of contemporary Indigenous art.

| Speaker: Sarker PROTICK

| Sarker Protick (b. 1986, Bangladesh) is a Dhaka-based artist whose work explores the possibilities of time, light and sound. His portraits, landscapes and photographic series engage philosophically with the specificities of personal and national histories. Sarker’s approach across various mediums incorporates detailed observations and subtle gestures as a means of creating personal spaces, often minimal and atmospheric. He was named in British Journal of Photography’s annual ‘Ones to Watch’ and Photo District News’ (PDN) 30 emerging photographers of the year. Sarker is the recipient of Joop Swart Masterclass, World Press Photo award, and Australian Photobook of the Year grand prize. His body of work Exodus was awarded the Magnum Foundation Grant 2018. Sarker’s work has been shown in museums, galleries and photo festivals internationally, including Art Dubai; Paris Photo; Singapore Art Week; Dhaka Art Summit; Chobi Mela International Photography Festival, Dhaka; Latvian Contemporary Museum of Photography, Riga; and Noorderlicht International Photofestival, Netherlands. Sarker is a faculty member at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, Dhaka, and currently represented by East Wing Gallery, Dubai.

Exhibition Opening: Temporary Certainty


You are invited to join 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on Thursday 30 August as we open major group exhibition Temporary Certainty.

Rushdi Anwar 
Alana Hunt 
Sarker Protick 

Taking in geographies shaped by sudden shifts of historical change wrought by complex interventions and their subsequent social impact in the greater Asia region, Temporary Certainty presents works by artists that are indelibly marked by their emergence within conditions of uneasy reconciliation. With a focus on Bengal, Kurdistan and the Kimberley region of Western Australia, this exhibition explores how artists approach the question of reconfiguring regional cultural adaptation in contemporary forms that embody the consequences of broader geopolitical expediencies.

Grappling with tensions between certainty and doubt, permanence and all that is ephemeral, Temporary Certainty contemplates the value of what can be apprehended—much less held onto—with any guarantee in a present age lurching towards ever greater polarisations.



Temporary Certainty is produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Rushdi Anwar’s commissioned work has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. The presentation of Sarker Protick’s Exodus has been supported by The Esplanade, Singapore, with additional support from the Australian Centre for Photography.

Exhibition opening: The Burrangong Affray


You are invited to join 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on Thursday, 28 June, as we open major exhibition The Burrangong Affray.

Between November 1860 and September 1861 the New South Wales goldfields of Burrangong, near the present day township of Young, were the site of Australia’s largest racially motivated riot. Rising antagonism over gold mining access and cultural habits saw trivial misunderstandings intensify into racial tensions that erupted into violence across the goldfields. Over ten months, Chinese miners were subjected to threats, robbery and sustained acts of violence. This anti-Chinese sentiment swept through the goldfields of Victoria in the 1850s and by the early 1860s reached a flashpoint in New South Wales, provoking public discussion and debate. In Sydney, the NSW Parliament responded to the contention by passing legislation to restrict Chinese immigration and began, alongside Victoria and South Australia, to write the prelude to the White Australia Policy.

For The Burrangong Affray, through a series of residencies in Young and surrounding historical sites over the past 18 months, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art has commissioned Chinese-Australian artists Jason Phu and John Young Zerunge trace the events and repercussions of this period of civil disobedience. Supported by historian Dr Karen Schamberger, the artists’ research-led practice interweaves these accounts of history to create contemporary mediations that reflects upon the forces of identity, economics, race and otherness in Australia today.

This exhibition is the second iteration of a four-part exhibition project. The first was realised in Young in April. 2018.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Please Explain: The Burrangong Affray



4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

181-187 Hay St, Haymarket, Sydney.

4A’s series Please Explain invites presenters to rethink, recharge and reimagine contemporary issues through the arts and academia. Responding to The Burrangong Affray presented at 4A this edition of Please Explain seeks to examine the lasting effects of this somewhat overlooked incident in Australia’s history. Join artists Jason Phu and John Young Zerunge, along with historian Dr Karen Schamberger and writer and journalist Gabrielle Chan as they discuss the histories and the resonances in the current day of the Burrangong Affray and associated events.

Missed the event? Listen to the audio recording below:

BOOK LAUNCH: Imagining Taiwan: The Role of Art in Taiwan’s Quest for Identity by Sophie McIntyre

SYDNEY // Monday July 2 // 12.30 – 1.30

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is delighted to host the launch of Dr Sophie McIntyre’s new book Imagining Taiwan: The Role of Art in Taiwan’s Quest for Identity.

Taiwan’s quest for identity and international recognition has been the most important and fiercely contested issue for nearly half century, both nationally and internationally. Imagining Taiwan is the first in-depth and comprehensive study, published in English, which critically explores the pivotal role played by the visual arts in Taiwan’s identity discourse. Drawing on 25 years of research, Sophie McIntyre analyses the ways in which identity narratives have been imagined, interpreted and transmitted, locally and globally, through the production, selection, display and reception of Taiwan art. This book focuses on the post-martial law era, a transformative period when democratisation gave rise to a heightened sense of Taiwanese consciousness, and a growing awareness of Taiwan’s place in the world. Artists, curators, art critics and scholars in Taiwan actively engaged in identity issues in unique, and often subversive ways. The author reveals how, with the turn of the new millennium, identity discourses in the visual arts shifted, from a Taiwan-centred narrative into a transnational vision embracing local, regional and global perspectives. Imagining Taiwan brings together primary and archival sources, and nearly 200 images, many published for the first time. It is an essential reference for specialists and students in art, curatorship, museums, and Taiwan and China studies, and it will also appeal to those seeking a greater understanding of the wider region.

Sophie McIntyre is a scholar and curator of art from the Asia-Pacific, with expertise in art from Greater China. She received her PhD from the Australian National University (2013) and has lectured and held fellowships in universities in Australia, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong. She has also curated more than 30 exhibitions, several of which featured art from Taiwan. Her texts have been widely published in books, journals, and catalogues in Australia and internationally

4A Symposium: This Is How We Do It


4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and the University of Melbourne invite you to join us for 4A’s 2018 symposium, This Is How We Do It: Museums and Galleries in Asia.

This Is How We Do It: Museums and Galleries in Asia brings together leading professionals from museums and galleries across wider Asia to share experiences and discuss what’s next for our region’s cultural and creative spaces. With international experts including Philip Tinari (China), director of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Joselina Cruz (Philippines), director of the Museum of Contemporary Art & Design (MCAD), Manila; and Reem Fadda, independent curator (Palestine); alongside local speakers representing community, state and national institutions and organisations, this symposium seeks to generate debate and discussion around the central question of how Australia’s arts ecology can learn from and embrace new models and practices from our Asian neighbours.

A day-long symposium, this event is free to attend but RSVPs are required due to limited seating capacity and catering which will be included for all registered attendees.  Click here to register.

To download the day’s program, complete with bios, click here.


Symposium schedule:

9.00AM– 10.00AM                             Registration 

10.00AM – 10.15AM                           Welcome

Prof. Su BAKER AM (Australia), Pro Vice-Chancellor Engagement and Director, Centre of Visual Arts (COVA), Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne

Dr Mikala TAI (Australia), Director, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

10.15AM – 10.30AM                           Opening presentation

| Prof. Charles GREEN (Australia), Professor of Contemporary Art, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne

Charles Green frames the day’s discussions by providing a brief contextual overview of Australia’s varied engagements and relationships with Asia within changing global contemporary art contexts.

10.30AM – 11.15AM                           Focus presentation

| Reem FADDA (Palestine), independent curator based in Ramallah, Palestine.

In August 2017, the Palestinian Museum in Ramallah opened its inaugural exhibition, Jerusalem Lives (Tahya Al Quds). Through her curatorial direction, Reem Fadda examined the city of Jerusalem as a case study that aimed to metaphorically represent globalisation and its failures and expose the challenges imposed by militarisation and occupation that Jerusalem and its people are facing. Combining a multifaceted approach that included commissioned site-specific artworks in the grounds and gardens of the Museum, alongside a program that supported civic institutions in the city that have adopted an enduring methodology of collective struggle, Reem discusses the processes by which a new museum in an old city engaged more than just art and artists in a process of mutual knowledge production as a frontier of resistance.

11.15AM – 12.30PM                           Panel 1 – Old spaces, new stories: the future of responsive institutions

| Speakers: Dr Rebecca COATES (Australia), Director, Shepparton Art Museum; Reem FADDA (Palestine); Dr Anthea GUNN (Australia), Senior Curator of Art, Australian War Memorial; Kirsten PAISLEY (Australia), Deputy Director, National Gallery of Australia.

| Moderator: Dr Mikala TAI

How do museums and galleries that have long held a central responsibility to maintain and build upon collections ensure that their priorities are responsive to changing local and global contexts? Whether it be the question of the decision-making processes behind the acquisition of artworks, the question of programming and wider cultural engagement with audiences, or the role of advocacy and education, established institutions in today’s climate are unavoidably charged with expectations of reflecting, responding and developing new curatorial strategies, new content, new audiences and new experiences. Bringing together leading gallery directors and curators with extensive experience in tackling these expectations, this panel will focus on the essential imperative of established institutions to maintain relevance.

12.30PM – 1.30PM                             Lunch break

1.30PM – 2.15PM                               Focus presentation

Joselina CRUZ (Philippines), Director, Museum of Contemporary Art & Design (MCAD), Manila

Joselina Cruz’s curatorial projects over the past decade have been defined by her commitment to developing spaces and platforms, particularly in Southeast Asia and the Philippines more specifically, a region whose cultural infrastructure has rapidly evolved while also growing its own cultural projections and methods of engagement with local and international audiences. Central to her concerns as a curator and a cultural leader is the responsibility of prompting conversations about the intertwined structures of power and influence, in art as well as politics, alongside providing opportunities for artists’ voices and platforms for cultural self-determination. Joselina will explore these subjects through a discussion on recent projects including Pacita Abad: A Million Things to Say (2018) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul: The Serenity of Madness for MCAD (2017), and The Spectre of Comparison, the Philippines Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), that presented artists Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo in an exploration of the ‘double-consciousness’ of colonial experiences and legacies.

Presentation supported by Artspace, Sydney.

2.15PM – 3.30PM                               Panel 2 – Expanded and expansive: curatorial approaches that push the boundaries of the institution

| Speakers: Joselina CRUZ (Philippines); Reuben KEEHAN (Australia), Curator Asian Art, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA); Natalie KING (Australia), independent curator and Enterprise Professor, Victorian College of Arts; Dr Sophie McINTYRE (Australia), independent curator and Lecturer, Faculty of Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology.

| Moderator: Dr. Olivier KRISCHER (Australia), Deputy Director, China Studies Centre, University of Sydney.

Institutions, by their inherent organisational nature, have a marked tendency to institutionalise the production of knowledge. This can, and often does, have the unintended effect of creating barriers for engagement and participation by the communities they purport to serve and reflect. Often criticised as ‘gate-keepers’, whether deserving and substantiated or not, an increasing number of museums and galleries have responded to this perception by introducing independent voices within their curatorial programs. Offering insights based on the diverse and extensive experiences and accomplishments of working in Asia, the panelists will address the challenges at play when institutions seek to break down boundaries between artists, communities and cultures more broadly, as well as identify successful examples of collaboration and representation within expanded modes of cultural engagement.

4.00PM – 4.50PM                               In conversation

| Speakers: Philip TINARI and Lisa HAVILAH (Australia), Director, Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia.

Join one the world’s leading experts in contemporary Chinese art as Phil Tinari sits down with Lisa Havilah for a conversation that will encompass such topics as the exponential growth of international engagement with Chinese art and culture; the effect of rising art market value of contemporary Chinese art upon the emergence of a new generation of artists; the fear of censorship and questions of artistic and institutional independence; and China’s strategic investment in soft power through cultural infrastructure and its promotion.

Session co-presented with Melbourne Art Week. 

4.45 PM – 5.00PM                              Questions from the audience and concluding remarks

Speaker: Dr Mikala TAI


This Is How We Do It: Museums and Galleries in Asia is co-presented by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and The University of Melbourne. Additional support thanks to our partners at Artspace Sydney, and Melbourne Art Week. 

Keynote: Philip Tinari


4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to partner with Melbourne Art Fair and University of Melbourne, with support from Federation Square, to present Philip Tinari as the keynote speaker at Melbourne Art Fair.

Prior to joining UCCA, Tinari launched LEAP, an internationally distributed, bilingual magazine of contemporary art published by the Modern Media Group, in 2009. He is a contributing editor of Artforum, and was founding editor of that magazine’s Chinese edition in 2007. Widely regarded as an authority on China’s contemporary art scene, he was co-curator, with Alexandra Munroe and Hou Hanru, of the 2017 exhibition “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

For more information on 4A’s symposium and extended talks program, please see: http://www.4a.com.au/thisishowwedoit/

Congee Breakfast Tour with artist Jason Phu

SYDNEY // 15 JULY 2018

Join artist Jason Phu in a special artist led tour of The Burrangong Affray and the Haymarket area. The exhibition tour includes a visit to a nearby Buddhist Craft and Joss Stick store, where Jason will unpack the significance of this craft as it relates to exhibition, followed by a traditional Taiwanese congee breakfast.

Please wear comfortable walking shoes. Spaces limited (15pax).

Workshop: Wild stories: the heroes and villain in our gardens


A 4A workshop at the Chinese Garden of Friendship with Diego Bonetto

This hands-on learning experience led by food adventurer Diego Bonetto invites children to go on adventure through the Garden’s plants and stories, Explore the gardens and learn about the history of these special plants before creating a crafty story using vegetables and plants. This workshop is presented by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with the Chinese Garden of Friendship for the July 2018 school holidays program.

For participants aged between 5-10 years, accompanied by a responsible adult. All materials provided.

Wild stories: the heroes and villains in our gardens is produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership Diego Bonetto and the Chinese Garden of Friendship for the July 2018 school holidays program.

Artist Biography:

Diego Bonetto is a wild food advocate based in Sydney, most famous for his offering of urban foraging workshops. Building on the knowledge acquired while growing up on a farm in Italy, Diego introduces people to the ever-present food and medicine plants that surround us. He collaborates extensively with chefs, herbalists, environmentalists and cultural workers promoting new understanding of what the environment has to offer. He works to enable convivial conversations around belonging, sustainability and agency. In other words he offers an alternative for people to re-engage with their neighbourhoods, streets and footpaths through edible adventures.

Workshop: Tracing Shadows: Paper Cutting Workshop with Tianli Zu 


A 4A workshop at the Chinese Garden of Friendship

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is filled with shadows. Children are invited to join leading Chinese-Australian artist Tianli Zu to try their hand at the traditional Chinese art of paper cutting. Whether you spend ten minutes or an hour with her you will be able to create a work that mimics the shadows of the gardens.

For participants aged between 5-10 years, accompanied by a responsible adult. All materials provided, drop in session, no bookings required.

Tracing Shadows: Paper Cutting Workshop is produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with Tianli Zu and the Chinese Garden of Friendship for the July 2018 school holidays program.


Workshop: Sketching Skills 101


A 4A workshop at the Chinese Garden of Friendship with Kristone Capistrano

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is filled with flowers, trees and hidden animals. Join Sydney-based artist Kristone Capistrano and try to capture them on paper. Drop into the gardens between 11-1pm to learn the basics of sketching with a leading local artist. Have fun developing your observational drawing skills whilst exploring a variety of drawing techniques, including cross-hatching, stippling and positive/negative space. You will also have the chance to draw one of your sketches onto a glossy ceramic tile, ready to display at home! Whether you stay for 15 minutes or the full two hours Kristone will help you sketch your favourite part of the garden to take home

For participants aged between 5-10 years, accompanied by a responsible adult. All materials provided, drop in session, no bookings required.

Sketching Skills 101 is produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with Kristone Capistrano and the Chinese Garden of Friendship for the July 2018 school holidays program.


Artist Biography:

Kristone Capistrano is a Philippine-born Sydney based emerging artist working in contemporary drawing and portraiture. In 2017 whilst still completing his Honours year in Fine Arts, Kristone was awarded the first prize for the Royal South Australian Portrait Biennale, Commended prize for the Lloyd Rees Youth Award, and both the Local Artist and People’s Choice awards for the Blacktown Art Prize. Kristone has participated in multiple group exhibitions in Australia including exhibitions held at the Blacktown Arts Centre, Campbelltown Arts Centre and Muswellbrook Regional Art Gallery. He is currently preparing for his forthcoming solo exhibitions at Crowther Contemporary in Melbourne and Tong Lau Space in Hong Kong. His works are included in the Blacktown City Art Collection, as well as in numerous private collections in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Manila. Kristone is also a qualified English and Visual Arts teacher with extensive experience in teaching both Primary and Secondary education.

SNACKCHAT: Bankstown Poetry Slam

SYDNEY // Thursday May 17 2018 // 6.30-8.00PM (Bar opens from 6pm)

Bankstown Poetry Slam, recognised widely as the largest regular poetry slam in Australia, brings to 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art a BPS style slam in the heart of Sydney. As one of the final programs in the SNACKCHAT series presented for the Biennale of Sydney join us for a snacks, drinks and slam. With 5 randomly chosen members of the audience judging the performances, the poets will have the stage and 3 minutes to win the crowd over with their clever wordsmithery. The evening will also feature a guest poet, stay tuned for details.

RSVP now.


SNACKCHAT is a new series of events by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, creating conversations about Sydney’s diverse cultural fabric over shared snacks from different community groups.

Please Explain: Australia’s fear of multilingualism

SYDNEY // Thursday 7 June 2018 // 6-8PM
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
4A’s series Please Explain invites presenters to rethink, recharge and reimagine contemporary issues through the arts and academia. Responding to Akira Tayakama’s Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Project presented at 4A as part of the Biennale of Sydney this edition of Please Explain is curated by Dr Elly Kent.
Australia seems to be quite happily multicultural but very comfortable being mono-lingual. Despite being a country of hundreds of languages our education system remains steadfastly focused on cursary study of languages that is not interwoven throughout primary and tertiary education. As a result we remain a nation that fails to celebrate our cultures through language and we fail to prepare our next generations to be global citizens. Where do we go from here?
Join 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art for a robust debate.
Speakers: poet/writer Lorna Munro;  Kevin Ngo, poet and Bankstown Poetry Slam organiser; Jane Stratton of LOST IN BOOKS, and linguist Asefeh Zeinalabedini.
Moderator: Dr Elly Kent
Want to bone up on the conversation before the night? Please see our recommended reading here.
Missed the event? Listen to the audio recording below:

*Image courtesy of the Biennale of Sydney. Document Photography.

Professional Development Information Night: Beijing Studio Program and 4A Curators’ Intensive

Sydney // Monday 30 April 2018 // 6.00-7.00PM
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Join our Program Information Night to meet with 4A staff to learn more about the 4A Beijing Studio Program, and/or 4A Curators’ Intensive. The evening will consist of a short presentation on what to expect from each program and information about the application process. Staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

RSVP now.

If you’re not based in Sydney or can’t make it to the session, join in on Facebook Live from 6PM AEST here.

About the opportunities:

The 4A Curators’ Intensive is an initiative developed by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art to encourage professional advancement amongst early career Australian cultural practitioners with an interest in curatorial practice. In 2018, the Curators’ Intensive, will take place in Melbourne between Tuesday 31 July – Saturday 4 August.

Now in its seventh consecutive year, the 4A Beijing Studio Program is a unique initiative that sees three Australian artists embark on a month-long residency in September at the studios of internationally renowned Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin. This experience provides a unique opportunity for artists to be mentored by a leading international artist, undertake research for new works, develop professional networks and witness first-hand the changes occurring in one of the world’s most vibrant capitals. The program covers airfares, accommodation, daily meals, travel insurance and a small stipend.

For more information on our professional development opportunities.

SNACK CHAT with Chun Yin Rainbow Chan with participants from Akira Takayama’s ​Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Project

SYDNEY // Thursday 5 April // 6.00PM – 7.00PM

Be part of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s Biennale of Sydney program SNACKCHAT . Partake in a conversation about the cultural fabric of Sydney with participant’s from Akira Takayama’s video work Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Theatre while enjoying some snacks from Hong Kong.

For this edition of SNACKCHAT Chun Yin Rainbow Chan and her mother Irene Chan reperform their songs from Akira Takayama’s Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Theatre and step you through a history of their family in Hong Kong. Accompanied by a visual presentation this is a SNACKCHAT not to miss!

This event is presented in collaboration with the 21st Biennale of Sydney.

Chun Yin Rainbow Chan, pictured with her mum Irene Chan. Photo: 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
Chun Yin Rainbow Chan, pictured with her mum Irene Chan. Photo: 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art


SNACKCHAT is a new series of events by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, creating conversations about Sydney’s diverse cultural fabric over shared snacks from different community groups.

Image: Akira Takayama, Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Theatre, 2018. Courtesy the artist and the Biennale of Sydney.

Community Offering: The Burrangong Affray

YOUNG, NSW. 21 April. From 10am

On April 21, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art led a community event with Australian-Chinese artists Jason Phu and John Young Zerunge in response the to events of The Burrangong Affray, including the Lambing Flat Riots, 1860 -1861.

We invited the community of Young and the surrounding areas to join the artists as they create a tribute at Chinese Cemetery, Murrumburrah and Blackguard Gully, Young. At each site the artists will lead us in a ceremony of incense burning, offerings and ceremonial gestures to welcome good luck and banish the bad spirits of the past.

Community members joined the artists as they pay tribute to these sites and these historic events.

This event forms part The Burrangong Affray: Jason Phu & John Young Zerunge exhibition.

Images below capture part of the day’s performance processes and events. All images: 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art:





Top image: Currawong Farm. Photo: Jason Phu.

SNACK CHAT with the Parents’ Cafe: with participants from Akira Takayama’s ​Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Project

SYDNEY // Wednesday 14 March // 6.30PM – 8.00PM

Be part of the first SNACKCHAT  – and partake in a conversation about the cultural fabric of Sydney with participant’s from Akira Takayama’s video work Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Theatre while enjoying some snacks from Fairfield’s Parents’ Cafe.

This event is presented in collaboration with the 21st Biennale of Sydney.


SNACKCHAT is a new series of events by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, creating conversations about Sydney’s diverse cultural fabric over shared snacks from different community groups.


Image: Akira Takayama, Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Theatre, 2018. Courtesy the artist and the Biennale of Sydney.

4A x Para Site at Melbourne Art Book Fair

Friday 16 – Sunday 18 March, 2018
Melbourne Art Book Fair
National Gallery of Victoria

Since its launch in 2015, the annual Melbourne Art Book Fair has attracted more than 50,000 visitors making it the most visited publishing event in the Asia-Pacific region.

The fourth Melbourne Art Book Fair in 2018 will bring together international and local publishers and practitioners in a weekend of free talks, book launches, performances, and stalls featuring art, design, architecture and photography publications from around the world.

Opening Hours
Friday 16 March: 10am – 5pm and 6 – 9pm
Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 March: 10am – 5pm

Para Site is Hong Kong’s leading contemporary art centre and one of the oldest and most active independent art institutions in Asia. It produces exhibitions, publications, discursive, and educational projects aimed at forging a critical understanding of local and international phenomena in art and society.

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (4A) is an independent not-for-profit organisation based in Sydney, Australia. 4A fosters excellence and innovation in contemporary culture through the commissioning, presentation, documentation and research of contemporary art. Our program is presented throughout Australia and Asia , where we ensure that contemporary art plays a central role in understanding and developing the dynamic relationship between Australia and the wider Asian region.

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



Lantern Decorating Workshop

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Chun Yin Rainbow Chan:

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



4A Night Walk


Experience China town’s food culture and public art under the the evening glow of its neon lights.

As part of the City of Sydney’s Sydney Chinese New Year Festival celebrations, 4A will lead a evening tour of Sydney’s China town that includes a brief history of its public art and magnetic regional cuisine.

The tour will also include a private tour of 4A’s exhibition, ‘Equal Area‘.

Image courtesy Lukezemephotography, Flickr. Image used under a Creative Commons License. 

Congee Breakfast Tour – Lee Kun-Yong: Equal Area


Join the 4A team on a morning tour of the heart of Sydney’s Chinatown, it’s art and magnetic regional cuisine.

As part of Lunar New Year celebrations, 4A will lead a morning tour of Sydney’s Chinatown that includes it’s public art and it’s magnetic regional cuisine.

The tour will include a private tour of 4A’s exhibition, ‘Equal Area‘ and culminate with a traditional Taiwanese congee breakfast.