Unfixed: Migrant Identities in Asian/Australian art and subculture

Sunday, 11 February 2024
2:00PM - 4:00PM (AEST)
Chau Chak Wing Museum
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A pair of events on migrant and diasporic identities, and ways in which these are expressed in contemporary art and subculture.

Two events to mark the Lunar New Year:

“Chasing the Dragon: Migration in contemporary practice”
WeiZen Ho, Jacquie Meng and Fan Donwang, moderated by Con Gerakaris 

This panel will explore the emergence of migration and diaspora as central themes of contemporary Australian art. Artists WeiZen Ho, Jacque Meng and Dongwan Fan will discuss the ways in which their own migratory experiences have shaped their identities and artistic practices, and the changing visibility of such experiences within national and international art settings. 


Ye Funa
“From Smart to Master: A Journey with China's Most Misunderstood Internet Subculture” 

Beijing-based artist Ye Funa will present a performance lecture on shāmǎtè (杀马特), a Chinese fashion style that in the 2010s birthed a whole subculture. Ye Funa will offer a fresh perspective on this often deplored trend, and its popularity amongst China’s migrant worker community. 


Co-presented by the Power Institute, the Chau Chak Wing Museum and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

Image: Ye Funa, The Smart Gallery [杀马特发廊], images supplied by artist.

See these artists at 4A's Lunar New Year exhibitions


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Ye Funa

Ye Funa is an artist born in Kunming, China in 1986. She graduated with a BFA in Experimental Art from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China and an MFA from the Central Saint Martins College of Art, London, UK. Ye Funa currently lives and teaches at the department of experimental art, in the Central Academy of Fine Arts, in Beijing, China. Ye’s practice is concerned with the relationship between the realities of everyday life. She is interested in the perceived connection between authority and many areas of social life such as different power structures, ethnic groups, and the fictional space of propaganda for the concept of ‘perfection’ in an ideological system, and utopian landscape. Her work is politically charged, subtly engaged in pastiche as a satirizing style of propaganda. 

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Jacquie Meng

Jacquie Meng (b.1998, Hangzhou) works with painting, sound, and installation. Her work redefines diasporic cultural identity beyond national and geographical specificities, rather seeing it as unfixed. Through consideration of posthumanism, performativity, and the migration of objects and imagery between cultures, Meng breaks down binaries of “East”/”West”, real/imagined, and human/non-human. This often involves a fusing of mythology and folklore with memories, fictions, and contemporary aesthetics. Meng was recently awarded the Brett Whitely travelling scholarship, is a finalist in the churchie Emerging Art Prize at the IMA, and was a part of PICA’s Hatched 2022. She has held solo and collaborative exhibitions at Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Gaffa Gallery, and Tributary Projects.

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Fan Donwang

Born in Shanghai, China in 1958, Fan Dongwang studied traditional Chinese art at Shanghai School of Arts and Crafts (SSAC) in the 1970's and later became an art teacher at SSAC. As an established Shanghai artist, his work exhibited regularly in Shanghai Art Gallery since 1982, including 1986 Shanghai Art Museum Inaugural Art Exhibition, 1987 Shanghai International Art Festival. As a member of the top professional body Chinese Artists Association he was awarded the Prize for Excellent Work for Shanghai International Culture Exchange. In 1990 Fan migrated to Australia as an artist of ‘Distinguished Talent'. He studied Master of Arts at COFA, NSW University in 1995, and received a PostGraduate Award and completed Doctor of Creative Art at Wollongong University in 1999. His doctoral thesis Shifting Perspectives and the Body established a theoretical model for comparing the differences between the representation of spatial depth in Chinese and European paintings. Currently lives and works in Sydney.

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WeiZen Ho

WeiZen Ho was born in Melaka, Malaysia and graduated in a Social Sciences degree from UWA, Perth. She devises solo and participatory works that occupy spaces of uncertainty between performance, ritual and installation; investigating methods for accessing the memory body through image concept sketching, vocal-bodywork, improvisational techniques and mimicry of spirit possession. Her performances employ accoutrements and imagery that coalesce relationships between body, voice, sound and site. Since founding music group TUFA, performing across Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Beijing (1999-2004), WeiZen expanded her discipline into spatial-body choreography. Her works include Evaporative Body, Multiplying Body with Alan Schacher for Keir Choreographic Award (2022), Stories from the Body #1-#9 (2014-2022: Indonesia, Malaysia, Setouchi Triennale in Japan, Thailand, Australia), the subtle beings (Australia 2018) with research undertaken in Sabah and Hanoi, and The Invisibles (360VR film 2020). WeiZen was an AIR in Cementa Festival 2022 to present a social-installation work, Dying - Differently, Possibly. She has also been the artist-curator for cross-disciplinary performance events and residency concepts like SoundBitesBody (2012-2016: properties throughout the Blue Mountains), and Performature : Performateur (2019-2022: Articulate project space, Splinter festival, StSt.ari). 

Con Gerakaris
Con Gerakaris

Con Gerakaris is a curator, arts administrator and writer and currently is the Curatorial Program Manager at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Con has curated James Jirat Patradoon: ULTRA (2021); Holding Patterns (2020); DARK FANTASY (2019) and Chris Yee: HI MEDUSA! (2019) for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Independently, he curated the exhibitions D A R K S E A – Lynn Nguyen and J.S.D. Andrews (2019), goodspace, Chippendale; CITIZENS OF NO PLACE (2018), Down/Under Space, Chippendale; and IT’S PRONOUNCED “GIF” NOT “GIF” (2017), goodspace, Chippendale. Con programmed the inaugural Club 4A for Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival 2018 and instigated, curated and produced for 4A Digital throughout 2020 and 2021. He has published articles for 4A Papersun. extendedRunway Conversations and Art Collector. Con completed a Bachelor of Arts (HONS) in 2013 and a Master of Art Curating in 2016 at the University of Sydney.