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Museum of Contemporary Art Australia announces new foyer commission by artist Guan Wei
Guan Wei, The Journey to Australia, 2013, production sketch, image courtesy the artist and Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney © the artist.
SYDNEY.- The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia announces the 2013 MCA Foyer commission by artist Guan Wei.

The first commission for this space was a vibrant abstract work titled Tango (2013) by Sydney-based artist Helen Eager.

Guan Wei’s new work The Journey to Australia (2013) is a figurative painting that references the MCA’s location at the site where the First Fleet came ashore on Gadigal land in 1788 and the artist’s experiences as an immigrant to Australia from China in 1989.

Guan Wei comments: ‘From a historical point of view, the MCA’s location at Circular Quay is a place where, in the past, many immigrants have landed - a place which links the past with the present, you with me, and Australia with the world.’

The work is also inspired by current debates about immigration and refugees in Australia; in particular the heated commentary that often surrounds the arrival of people to this country by boat.

As Guan Wei says: ‘I have observed that much of our daily news is filled with stories of refugee ships arriving in Australian waters… As an Australian immigrant and as an artist, I am able to not only identify with but also to help relate and bear witness to [the refugees] solemn, stirring and tragic story…’

MCA Curator Anna Davis said: ‘Guan Wei has a highly original vision and is a significant figure in both the Australian and Chinese contemporary art scenes. For the past 25 years he has been creating work that interweaves imagery from his Chinese heritage, personal mythology and life experience. Guan Wei has a long history with the MCA. He was an artist-in-residence in 1992 and was the first artist to have a solo exhibition on Level 4 in 1999. Several of his works have been acquired for the MCA Collection, some of which are currently on display in Volume One: MCA Collection. The scale and ambition of his new mural is impressive and will be a fantastic addition to the MCA series of wall commissions.’

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