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.