UNSW Art & Design and 4A present: Photographs, Photocopies, and Lianhuanhua: The Early Works of Wang Youshen, 1985-1990



via Zoom Webinar: register in advance for this webinar here.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Join Dr. Shuxia Chen in conversation with Dr Yu-Chieh Li for a discussion on photographs, photocopies, and lianhuanhua in the context of the early works of Wang Youshen. 

After the first electrostatic photocopier was successfully replicated in 1966, based on an imported Xerox photocopier, the Chinese photocopier machine industry continued to develop, particularly from the mid-1980s. With relatively easy access, and a zeal for experimentation typical of the ’85 New Wave Movement, the use of photocopiers to produce new artworks emerged in the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. Having reopened in 1978, after the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution, the CAFA curriculum encouraged artistic exploration in different media and materials. By examining works, particularly lianhuanhua “linked/serial pictures”, produced with a photocopier by Wang Youshen, then a student in the Nnianhua (new year painting) and Lianhuanhua Department at CAFA, this talk investigates the combination of photography and photocopying as an experimental medium, and how reproduction endowed traditional genres such as lianhuanhua with a new “aura” in 1980s China.

In this talk, Dr. Shuxia Chen argues that the way this new “aura” was generated by crossing over between media, materials and genres, broke boundaries in a manner typical of postmodern or contemporary art practices, and hence sheds light on the emergence of contemporary art in China from the 1990s.

Dr. Shuxia Chen is an art historian and curator of Asian art. She holds a PhD from the Australian National University, an MA in Art History from the University of Sydney, and an MA in Studio Art (Honours) from Sydney College of the Arts. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary Chinese photography, artist groups, and post-socialist visual culture. Shuxia’s research has been published in journals such as Trans-Asia Photography Review, Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Made in China and Artforum. Since 2007, Shuxia has also worked with a range of museums and galleries in China and Australia as a curator and exhibition manager. Her current curatorial projects include: “A Home for Photography Learning” (Beijing and Hong Kong, 2018-2020), “Auspicious Beings” (Sydney, 2020-2021), and “Wayfaring: ‘70s and ‘80s Taiwanese
Photography” (Canberra, 2020).

Dr Yu-Chieh Li is the inaugural Judith Neilson Postdoctoral Fellow in Contemporary Art at UNSW Art and Design, Sydney. She was an Andrew W. Mellon C-MAP Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013-2015) and adjunct researcher at Tate Research Centre: Asia (2017-8) in London. Her research focuses on two areas: performance art and artist-led research responding to decolonial struggles in the Sinosphere, and the tension between locally-generated art discourses and neoliberal globalisation. Her publications appear in Art in TranslationArt Monthly Australasia, and post: Notes on Modern and Contemporary Art Around the Globe, with an edited volume Xu Bing: Beyond the Book from the Sky recently published by Springer. Currently she is working on a book project examining the artistic autonomy of post-socialist China.

Presented by UNSW | Art & Design in partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.
Series organisers: Prof Paul Gladston and Dr Yu-Chieh Li.



Image: Wang Youshen, 1990, Portrait Series, 王友身1990-人像系列·资料

4A TALKS // Shireen Taweel

Shireen Taweel in conversation with Reina Takeuchi

William Street Creative Hub, Darlinghurst, Sydney

Watch a conversation between Lebanese-Australian artist Shireen Taweel and 4A Assistant Curator Reina Takeuchi in Taweel’s Sydney home-studio, presented as part of the 4A TALKS series.

In this episode, Taweel discusses her artistic practice and coppersmith techniques, as well as the cross-cultural histories and social relationships that inform her work, which incorporates sculpture, installation and sound. Takeuchi and Taweel also reflect on the the stories and concepts behind Taweel’s work, tracing transcendence, on view at 4A in the exhibition Holding Patterns: Shireen Taweel  (3-25 September).

The interview took place on 5 September 2020 in Taweel’s studio on William Street, Darlinghurst, where city life and traffic bustle can be heard intermittently in the background.

Download the transcript here.

Image credits in the video:

Holding Patterns: Shireen Taweel, Installation views, 2020, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Shireen Taweel in her studio at Darlinghurst, Sydney; photo: Leigh Griffiths for Broadsheet Sydney.

Shireen Taweel in her studio at Parramatta Artists Studio, 2018, courtesy Parramatta Artists Studios; photo: Jacquie Manning

Shireen Taweel studio image; photo: Eloise Fuss.

Shireen Taweel, tracing transcendence, 2018, The Substation; photo: Matthew Stanton.

Instagram process images and videos by Shireen Taweel.

All assets courtesy the artist.

Meet the Artist: Shireen Taweel


As part of Holding Patterns: Shireen Taweel, artist Shireen Taweel and exhibition curator Reina Takeuchi will be present at 4A on Saturday 12 September between 11am-1pm to give visitors an opportunity to discuss the works with them in person.

Please note, in line with COVIDSafe visitor guidelines, there is a limit of 8 visitors to our Haymarket gallery at one time. If you would like to reserve a time to meet the artist or visit the exhibition from 3 – 25 September, please make a booking here.

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.

Return to Holding Patterns exhibition page


4A TALKS // Crossing Threads®

ONLINE at 4A Instagram

To coincide with the exhibition Holding Patterns: Crossing Threads®, 4A presented an Instagram Live talk on 16 August with artists and sisters Lauren Hernandez and Kass Hernandez, who work under the collaborative name Crossing Threads. Holding Patterns curator Con Gerakaris spoke with the duo about the socio-cultural, environmental and familial stories that inform their practice, as well as the interesting materials and methods that make up the multi-textural works on display at 4A. This live-streamed talk was recorded in our Haymarket gallery and is part of our 4A TALKS series.

Watch the Instagram Live talk HERE.

Listen to the talk below.

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.


Exhibition Opening: Eugenia Lim: The Ambassador, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery


20 NOVEMBER 2020

Eugenia Lim is an Australian artist of Chinese–Singaporean descent who works across video, performance and installation. In her work, Lim transforms herself into invented fictional personas who traverse through time and cultures to explore how national identities and stereotypes cut, divide and bond our globalised world.

This 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Museums & Galleries of NSW (M&G NSW) initiated touring project presents Lim’s most recent body of work, The Ambassador seriesIn this three-part project, Lim takes on a Mao-like persona who sits halfway between truth and fantasy –  dressed in a gold lamé suit and matching bowl haircut. Throughout each of her works, the Ambassador takes on new roles in uncovering the Australian-Asian narrative – drilling down into racial politics, the social costs of manufacturing and the role of architecture in shaping society.

Eugenia Lim’s (b. 1981 Melbourne, Australia) work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the Tate Modern, GOMA, ACMI, HUN Gallery NY, and FACT Liverpool. She has received a number of Australia Council for the Arts grants and residencies, including a residency at the Experimental Television Centre NY and exchange at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Recent residencies include Bundanon Trust, 4A Beijing Studio and the Robin Boyd Foundation. Collaboration, artistic community and the intersection between art and society informs her practice: in addition to her solo work, she co-directed the inaugural Channels: the Australian Video Art Festival, is a board member at Next Wave, the founding editor of Assemble Papers and co-founder of interdisciplinary collective Tape Projects.



LUNAR NEW YEAR // Moon Gates by Louise Zhang




25 January – 9 February

To celebrate Lunar New Year 2020 in the Darling Harbour precinct, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (4A) is creating a special installation to mark the festival. On 25 January 2020, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art will start celebrating the 2020 Lunar New Year with a series of colourful Lunar New Year Moon Gates designed by Sydney based artist Louise Zhang. Commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art for the Lunar New Year, Louise’s work will see the Darling Harbour Precinct come to life with colourful facades that invite visitors to walk through and feel good fortune ahead of the year of the rat. A traditional architectural element of many Chinese Gardens and with different spiritual meanings, each of Zhang’s bright moon gate’s will feature highly detailed traditional floral motifs, celebrating Lunar New Year. Beautifully detailed lilies will feature prominently on each gate with the lily considered to be the most lucky flower for this year’s zodiac.

Louise Zhang (born 1991) is a Chinese-Australian multidisciplinary artist whose practice spans painting, sculpture and installation. Zhang explores the dynamics of aesthetics, contrasting the attractive and repulsive in order to navigate the senses of fear, anxiety and a sense of otherness reflecting her identity. Her work is inspired by horror cinema, Chinese mythology and botany, adopting and placing symbols and motifs in compositions of harmonic dissonance. Zhang’s solo exhibitions include Art eats its young, 2018, Artereal Gallery, Sydney; Soft Horror, 2017, Organhaus, Chongqing, (China); and Human Jerky: meatbags through the eyes of technology and Emotions invented by the Internet, 2018 Verge Gallery, Sydney. Her clients include City of Sydney, Apple, Lendlease and the Australian Embassy, Beijing. Zhang is represented by Artereal Gallery.

See the gates outside the Chinese Garden of Friendship in the Darling Harbour Precinct throughout the Lunar New Year festival from 25 January – 9 February 2020.

Image: courtesy Louise Zhang.


From 5PM, 25 January, 2020, meet at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
$25 +bf. Buy tickets here


Club 4A returns for a third year in 2020, programmed as part of Sydney Festival. Club 4A is all about taking performance art back to the club.




TROPPO GALAKTIKA is proud to present SALTY BITCH. Beginning at 4A we gather to move in performance procession to the club / SALTY BITCH is resistance and agitation / SALTY BITCH is sweat rimmed flavour / SALTY BITCH is stank face riding dancefloors / SALTY BITCH is cool breeze evaporation leading SALTY BITCH to invigilate on Barangaroo


Curated by the amazing Troppo Galaktika, as part of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and UNSW Galleries exhibition Wansolwara: One Salt Water, for Club 4A’s third iteration expect performances, music, dance and just the right amount of salt. Meet at 4A at 5PM on January 25 to be taken to a secret location.


Starting the night with new work from artist Nadeena Dixon, make sure you arrive at 4A between 5-6PM to join us as we make our way from the gallery to the club – with the location for our night-long party only released on the day!


Club 4A: Troppo Galaktika presents: SALTY BITCH features performances throughout the night from Seini “SistaNative” Taumoepeau, Bhenji Ra, and STELLY G, wearable art from Luna Aquatica, a visual feast from VJ Vaxxx on the club screen, soundtracked by sets from DJ Sista Agz, DJ SOVTRAX, AYEBATONYE, KILIMI + more.


Tickets will sell out – so get yours now here.



Nadeena Dixon – Artist

Seini “SistaNative” Taumoepeau- OceaniaX Orator & Songwoman

Bhenji Ra – Performance Artist

STELLY G – Performance Artist

Luna Aquatica – Wearable Artist

VJ Vaxxx – VJ



DJ Sista Agz





ABOUT 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art fosters excellence and innovation in contemporary Asian and Australian culture through research, documentation, development, discussion and presentation of contemporary visual art. We believe that Asian cultural thinking will have an important impact on the future. 4A’s aim is to ensure contemporary visual art plays a central role in understanding the dynamic relationship between Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. 4A has a distinctive approach to addressing Australia’s cultural diversity through a dynamic program including local and international exhibitions, public programs, workshops, seminars, symposiums and community activities. These have been recognised locally and internationally as having raised awareness of Asian-Australian art and culture and Australia’s place in the Asia-Pacific region.

WORKSHOP // Zodiac Flower Charm Workshops with Louise Zhang

Louise Zhang is a Sydney-based multidisciplinary artist whose practice spans painting, sculpture and installation. With an interest in cinema – specifically, theatrical horror – Louise explores the dichotomies between what is attractive and monstrous. She appreciates ‘otherness’ – the under-appreciated and overlooked – and brings new life to kitsch materials through playful and whimsical creative processes. This workshop series will be drawing from her practice to encourage young creatives to be inspired by the decorative architecture of

the Gardens and create their own individualistic, unique charm flower! Get ready for Lunar New Year 2020 this school holidays at the Chinese Garden of Friendship, joining Louise to make lucky charms that feature Chinese zodiac flowers. In this two-hour workshop, learn about the (sometimes surprising) meaning and uses of each zodiac sign's
flower and create your own flower as part of a special take-home hanging charm inspired by Louise’s work – the perfect Lunar New Year accessory or gift for family. After the workshops, come back to Darling Harbour during Lunar New Year festival to see Louise’s work come to life in a series of special Moon Gates to walk through. For participants aged between 7-17 years, accompanied by a responsible adult. All materials provided, with bookings online required to ensure all participants get to complete their take-home charm flower. Places are limited for each workshop, which is free with entry to the Chinese Garden of Friendship.

Louise Zhang ( b.1991) is a Sydney-based multidisciplinary artist whose practice spans painting, sculpture and installation. With an interest in horror cinema, particularly the body horror genre, Zhang is interested in the dynamics between the attractive and repulsive. By exploring how themes of perceived innocence such as prettiness and cuteness can be contrasted with notions of the perverse and monstrous, Zhang explores the intersection of fear, anxiety and a sense of otherness in the construction of identity. Zhang’s solo exhibitions include Art eats its young, 2018, Artereal Gallery, Sydney; Soft Horror, 2017, Organhaus, Chongqing, (China); and Human Jerky: meatbags through the eyes of technology and Emotions invented by the Internet, 2018 Verge Gallery, Sydney. Her clients include City of Sydney, Apple, Lendlease and the Australian Embassy, Beijing. Zhang is represented by Artereal Gallery.

All materials provided, with bookings online required to ensure all participants get to complete their take-home charm flower. Places are limited for each workshop, which is free with entry to the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Register online at 

This workshop has been produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art for The Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour.


4A’s artist-led workshops throughout 2019 are supported by Create NSW’s Audience Development Fund, a devolved funding program administered by Museums & Galleries of NSW on behalf of the NSW Government.



Image: Courtesy Louise Zhang.

Slow Boat to Nerrigundah: The Dion family & the golden gardens of the Chinese diaspora on the South Coast of NSW



Join a talk by historian and author Dr Joseph Davis. Followed by an Open mic: Read your poetry or prose on the theme of bus travel, the Dion Family exhibition, or an anecdote about traveling on a Dion bus (5 minutes per participant).

Free, all welcome. 

This program is part of the exhibition On The Move: The Dion Family.

Produced and presented by Wollongong Art Gallery in partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and the South Coast Writers Centre with support from The Dion Family.





Exhibition opening: Wansolwara: One Salt Water


6.00PM – 8.00PM 

16 JAN 2020 


Wansolwara: One Salt Water is a series of exhibitions, performances and events from across the Pacific and throughout the Great Ocean. Wansolwara – a pidgin word from the Solomon Islands meaning ‘one-salt-water’ or ‘one ocean, one people’ – reflects not a single ocean, but rather a connected waterscape that holds distinct and diverse cultures and communities. Through art, performance and conversation, the project celebrates the depth and diversity of contemporary visual and material culture throughout these regions, placing customary practices alongside contemporary articulations in art, writing and the moving image.

Unfolding across multiple sites over the summer of 2020 Wansolwara: One Salt Water profiles the creativity of the region through multidisciplinary forms. Artists Terry Faleona, Ruha Fifita, Rebecca Ann Hobbs, Shivanjani Lal, Paula Schaafhausen and Vaimaila Urale all present significant bodies of work that trace connections to the Pacific through language, tradition, dance and ceremony. Commissioned by 4A and UNSW Galleries, artist and curator Léuli Eshrāghi presents O le ūa na fua mai Manuʻa a focus within the exhibition that expands the Pacific from a geographical region to consider networks and exchange facilitated by the Great Ocean. The project brings fresh international perspectives to current endeavours to embody and awaken Indigenous sensual and spoken languages through works that focus on language, the body, gender, sex, desire and pleasure. It features works by asinnajaq, Sarah Biscarra Dilley, Sebastián Calfuqueo Aliste, Mariquita Davis, Amrita Hepi, Caroline Monnet, Faye Mullen, Shannon Te Ao, Angela Tiatia and Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu.

4A and UNSW have also commissioned Troppo Galaktika, a Sydney-based collective to curate the third iteration of Club4A focused on the continuing and contemporary cultures of the Pacific. This evening of food, parades and performances weaves its way from 4A to a karaoke club in Haymarket, animating the streets of Sydney with performances that occur outside the gallery and within the living, pulsating nightlife of the city.

Alongside the exhibition a series of academic modes of enquiry elucidate key themes of the project. Australian based early-career writers Mitiana Arbon, Winnie Dunn, Enoch Mailangi and Talia Smith have been commissioned to participate in the Wansolwara Writers Program. Their critical responses to the exhibition will be shared on FBi Radio, through podcasts and in a special edition of 4A’s biannual online journal the 4A Papers available in May 2020. A day-long symposium at UNSW Art & Design and series of public programs will further illustrate, through research, the depth and diversity of creativity from the region.


Creatives: Sebastián Calfuqueo Aliste, Mitiana Arbon, asinnajaq, Mariquita ‘Micki’ Davis, Sarah Biscarra Dilley, Winnie Dunn, Léuli Eshraghi, Ruha Fifita, Troppo Galaktika, Amrita Hepi, Rebecca Ann Hobbs, Shivanjani Lal, Enoch Mailangi, Caroline Monnet, Faye Mullen, Paula Schaafhausen, José Da Silva, Talia Smith, Mikala Tai, Shannon Te Ao, Angela Tiatia, Vaimaila Urale, Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu and more to be announced.

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


Wansolwara: One Salt Water is exhibited across both 4A (17 Jan – 29 Mar) and UNSW Galleries (17 Jan – 18 April).

Please Explain: no one’s drowning, baby



2.00PM – 3.30PM

SUN 19 JAN 2020

Pacific Island nations are in the midst of a climate change crisis. This edition of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s Please Explain talks series takes Marshall Islander poet, performance artist, educator Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner’s address and poem  “Dear Matafele Peinem”, presented at the 2014 Opening Ceremony of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit as a starting point for discussion on the role artists and activists play in this major challenge facing our Pacific region.

Although the South Pacific Islands collectively emit far below 1% of total global greenhouse gases responsible for climate change, the region and its island countries remain among the most vulnerable in the world to its negative impacts. With the failure of Australia to agree to the Tuvalu Declaration at the 2019 Pacific Islands Forum (which aimed to not only acknowledge a climate change crisis but also have countries agree to revise the emissions reductions targets and calls for a rapid phase out of coal use), PIF chair, Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said to Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, “ ‘You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia … I am concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu.'”

4A’s series Please Explain invites presenters to rethink, recharge and reimagine contemporary issues through the arts and academia and in this session we ask: what stories are being told across our ocean, and what are we to lose if the crisis is not met with appropriate action? What is the role of art and policy here –  what can we do?

In a discussion moderated by Sydney Festival Artistic Director Wesley Enoch, artist Paula Schaafhausen exhibiting at 4A Centre as part of Wansolwara: One Salt Water will speak to this issue alongside Guardian Australia Pacific Editor, Kate Lyons and UNSW’s Professor John Church, pre-eminent expert in sea level rise, in this major Sydney Festival panel event.
Wansolwara: One Salt Water is presented in partnership with UNSW Galleries, and supported by Art Monthly Australasia, FBi Radio and Sydney Festival.

Please Explain: no one’s drowning, baby is presented with support from Sydney Festival.

4A acknowledges and pays respect to the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which 4A Centre for Contemoporary Asian Art is built and operates.

Artist Paula Schaafhausen, exhibiting at 4A Centre as part of Wansolwara: One Salt Water, Guardian Australia Pacific Editor Kate Lyons and Professor John Church, pre-eminent expert in sea level rise, speak to this issue in this major Sydney Festival panel event moderated by Wesley Enoch.

Listen to the days recording here:

Speaker Profiles:

 | Moderator: Wesley Enoch

| Wesley Enoch is a writer and director for the stage. He was the Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre Company from 2010 to 2015 and is the current Artistic Director at the Sydney Festival. He hails from Stradbroke Island (Minjeribah) and is a proud Noonuccal Nuugi man.

Previously Wesley has been the Artistic Director at Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts; Artistic Director at Ilbijerri Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-operative and the Associate Artistic Director at Belvoir Street Theatre. Wesley’s other residencies include Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company from 2000 – 2001; the 2002 Australia Council Cite Internationale des Arts Residency in Paris and the Australia Council Artistic Director for the Australian Delegation to the 2008 Festival of Pacific Arts. He was creative consultant, segment director and indigenous consultant for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Wesley has written and directed some of Australia’s most iconic Indigenous theatre productions.


Kate Lyons

| Kate Lyons is the Pacific Editor of Guardian Australia, and was previously a reporter and live-blogger on Guardian Australia’s foreign desk, where she anchors the Guardian’s live coverage of breaking world news and reports on Asia and the Pacific. She previously worked at the Guardian UK and has won a Drum Online Media Award and been longlisted for the Orwell Prize for exposing Britain’s social evils. Through the Pacific journalism project Guardian Australia will establish a network of Indigenous Pacific journalists and collaborate with publications across the Pacific, including Vanuatu, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Samoa, French Polynesia and New Caledonia. The aim is to increase public discussion of the social, geo-political, environmental, and economic issues relevant to the region. Kate will also commission major investigations and present these stories in new and engaging ways, including through collaboration with other Australian media organisations.


 | Paula Schaafhausen

| Paula Schaafhausen (b. Motuatua, Samoa 1972 lives and works in Maloloelelei, Samoa) is a Samoan artist who has been educated in Aotearoa New Zealand obtaining her Masters of Fine Arts from Elam, University of Auckland. Her practice reflects her culture and her concerns around the environment. Since returning to Samoa as an adult the clear effects of climate change on the landscape – from changes in the coastline to the impact of plastics on the beaches and ocean – have deeply influenced her practice. Paula currently manages the Aiga Folau o Samoa (the Samoan Voyaging Society) where she is developing programs around traditional navigating drawn from traditional Samoan knowledge. Exhibitions include: Hidden Gems, Taumeasina Island Resort, Apia, Samoa (2019), Ebbing Tagaloa, Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington Aotearoa New Zealand (2014) and Material Culture, Fresh Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand (2010).


 | Professor John Church

| Professor John Church was a research scientist with CSIRO from 1978 to 2016, and in the 1990s was the initial leader of the ocean climate program in the then Division of Oceanography. He helped establish the predecessor of the now Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Research Centre.  He was promoted to CSIRO Fellow in 2010.  His focus for the last two decades has been the role of the ocean in the climates system, particularly anthropogenic climate change. He is an expert in estimating and understanding global and regional sea-level variability and change, and the Earth’s energy budget. He has made major contributions to the international climate research over many years through membership and chairing of the Scientific Steering Group of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment and the Joint Scientific Committee of the Wold Climate Research Programme and contributions to the Global Climate Observing System. He is the author of over 150 refereed publications, over 100 other reports and co-edited three books. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the American Meteorological Society and the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.



TOURING: Eugenia Lim: The Ambassador



20 NOV 2020 – 16 JAN 2021

Eugenia Lim is an Australian artist of Chinese–Singaporean descent who works across video, performance and installation. In her work, Lim transforms herself into invented fictional personas who traverse through time and cultures to explore how national identities and stereotypes cut, divide and bond our globalised world.

This 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Museums & Galleries of NSW (M&G NSW) initiated touring project presents Lim’s most recent body of work, The Ambassador seriesIn this three-part project, Lim takes on a Mao-like persona who sits halfway between truth and fantasy –  dressed in a gold lamé suit and matching bowl haircut. Throughout each of her works, the Ambassador takes on new roles in uncovering the Australian-Asian narrative – drilling down into racial politics, the social costs of manufacturing and the role of architecture in shaping society.

Visitors have commented:

“Wonderful revelation”

“Absurd and profound”

“What an incredible exhibition”

Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, SA

Part 1: Yellow Peril (2015)

Yellow Peril contemplates the fraught stories from the first wave of Chinese migrants seeking to make their fortunes in the Australian gold rush. The 17-minute featurette transports Lim’s Ambassador to the Sovereign Hill theme park, an open air museum that reimagines 1850’s Ballarat, Victoria. Mixing in with a cast of modern-day visitors and historical theme-park actors, Eugenia’s lone Ambassador silently wanders throughout the site from dawn to dusk. She partakes in gold mining, inspects machinery and eventually strikes gold and ‘wins big’. However, throughout the process, Lim’s Ambassador seems twice removed – silent, isolated and ambiguous – appearing as a literal and cultural relic from another time and place.

Exhibited alongside is the sculptural gold nugget featured in the video work and two photographs printed on gold emergency blankets – one picturing the artist’s hopeful parents shortly after their arrival in Australia in front of Ron Robertson-Swann’s public sculpture Vault (1980)or better known in Melbourne as ‘yellow peril’.

These poetic elements draw careful attention to the local and personal experiences for many first-generation Chinese migrants, including Lim’s own parents, and the social costs of seeking fortune in a faraway land.

Part 2: The People’s Currency (2017)

When almost everything is now ‘Made in China’, how are we, as consumers, implicated in the poor labour conditions of the production line? – Eugenia Lim

Borrowing its name from the renminbi (China’s Currency), The People’s Currency turns the gallery into ‘Renminconn’, a closed-loop ‘special economic zone’. Within this zone Lim dressed as the Chairman Mao-like, gold-suited Ambassador, stands over her factory of counterfeit money-printing and ceramic imitation electronic consumer goods. As the Ambassador, Lim invites the public to enter into ‘short-term employment’ as shift workers on her factory floor, completing a menial yet meditative task. Based on her satisfaction with the completed product, she will remunerate the ‘employee’ with her counterfeit notes printed on site – The People’s Currency.

In Lim’s project, this collision of mass-production, menial work and counterfeit currency become strategies to evaluate the two-fold impacts of global capitalism – on those who seek their fortunes in the factories of China or ‘the workshop of the world’, and the global consumers of these ubiquitous and aspirational products.

Part 3: The Australian Ugliness (2018)

Lim’s latest project surveys the role of architecture in marking a society and shaping national identity. The work has been titled after the bestselling book by Robin Boyd, arguably one of Australia’s most prominent architects and Modernists. Boyd’s The Australian Ugliness denounces the conservative, kitsch and decorative tastes of post-war 1950s Australia, warning against parochialism and insularity. Lim will build upon these ideas, transporting them into 21st century Australia.

This multi-channel video work, will see the Ambassador lead a wide-ranging tour of iconic public and private spaces in Australian cities. The work will insert a female and Asian identity on screen and into the built environment of our cities – spaces still dominated by macho-white taste. Throughout her journey, The Ambassador will interrogate the tensions between globalism and localism, natural and the cultural and the importance of understanding Boyd’s featurism today in the Asian century.

Curated by Mikala Tai, Director, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, The Ambassador is travelling to eight galleries and art centres across Australia between 2019 and 2021 through Museums & Galleries of NSW.

A 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Museums & Galleries of NSW touring exhibition. This project is assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia program