Curated by one of the most renowned Australian artists, Guan Wei, Cultural Cartography: Creating Art at the Intersection of Cultures opened at Bankstown Arts Centre
on 13th January during Sydney Festival.
Running as part of Bankstown Arts Centres NEXUS, an exciting immersive cultural festival showcasing the energy and vitality of young creatives from Bankstown and beyond, Cultural Cartography: Creating Art at the Intersection of Cultures is a provocative exhibition curated by one of Australias most renowned artists Guan Wei and showcasing five young artists Cindy Chen, NC Qin, Chris Yee, Christina Huynh and Anney Bounpraseuth whose works contemplate on and reflect the diversity, complexity and dynamics of contemporary humanities and lifestyles.
Curator Guan Wei said, German physicist Werner Heisenberg, one of the key pioneers of quantum mechanics, states in his influential book Physics and Philosophy that in the history of human thinking the most fruitful developments frequently take place at those points where two different lines of thought meet. These lines may have their roots in quite different parts of human culture, in different times or different cultural environments or different religious traditions. A similar remark was made by the late Australian art critic Robert Hughes, who observed that some of the most interesting phenomena in history and arts have occurred at the intersection of cultures.
It is interesting to note that one statement is made in the field of science, and the other in the arts. Both Heisenberg and Hughes arrived at the same conclusion that new creation and innovation often happen at the intersection of two or more different thoughts and cultures.
In the last twenty years or so, this intersection of different cultures has become a critical base for cultural creation and innovation in multicultural Australia, as particularly demonstrated in the artistic expressions of second-generation artists of Chinese and Asian heritage. While they grew up and have been educated in mainstream Western culture, these artists have also learnt and have been greatly influenced by their cultural heritage. From the vantage point of seeing both cultures from their individual perspectives, they have the knowledge, capability and confidence to bring out some of the most interesting or distinctive parts from both cultures and integrate them into their own unique artistic creations and styles.
This second generation of artists focus on the diversity, complexity and dynamics of contemporary humanities and lifestyles. Their artworks reflect their strong interest in and sharp thoughts of the present-day human conditions, expressing their concerns, anxieties, pain, joy and pleasure of the world they are living in. In the meantime, they have achieved a unique infusion of the two cultures they grew up with, articulated in a great variety of artistic media and genres. They have many things in common including their passion for and commitment to innovative expressions. Yet they are also clearly marked by their individual styles and pursuits.