Our histories reveal a continuous development of new concepts in the unending struggle to arrive at new goals. A dynamic and restless attitude provides the climate in which our arts are nourished. This is an evolutionary manner of development that arises out of our communities.
Crossing Boundaries is an exhibition survey of the present situation in Australia for Asian Australian artists being honest, acknowledging the traditions, identities and the by-products of nostalgia that bring us closer to the real nature of things.
How is it that the frontiers have been drawn at a particular place? This is a question that curator Catherine Croll points us towards achieving a new insight. On one side of the frontier we are at home; the other side is foreign territory. Croll, who is the founding director of Cultural Partnerships Australia and an award-winning artist, said that giving the public a rare glimpse into significant artworks that represent the relationship between our continents and countries is not only important but also essential.
All art is united in the sense that it is an expression of the human spirit and our humanity. However, we are not all the same. Art is always in a state of movement in the constant search for new forms. In the Orient the artistic achievements of the past are venerated and emulated while the living artist was praised for successfully duplicating the excellence of a master.
The program is part of the city’s Chinese New Year Festival, a two-week celebration welcoming in the year of the Horse. The horse is featured in many of the presented works, including two participatory craftings by seminal photographer William Yang and contemporary Chinese paper-cutter Pamela See, in Horsing Around.
Yang’s interactive installation, Australia Now, seeks a combined meaning from the drawing of a self-portrait, Chinese zodiac and a statement of where you come from. See’s is an activity that targets the young to place one of her horse paper cuts, photograph and upload the image online.
Sydney-based artist Karina Wikamto’s sculpture of her father is made up of peanut shells that have been carefully sewn together to embellish the stories and memories shared.
To be an Asian-Australian artist making a kind of visual sounding board, capturing sensations that most of us are not really conscious of receiving and echoing them back to us in forms of art, is a pertinent exchange. (AS)
Crossing Boundaries, Feb 9, Sydney Town Hall (Lower), 483 George St, free, sydneychinesenewyear.com
BY ANGELA STRETCH