Ink Remix! A 2-Year Labor of Love Between China and Australia
Guests were awestruck as Yao Jui-chung (姚 瑞 中)'s creation entitled Yao's Journey to Australia, 2015 acted as the backdrop of the INK REMIX: Contemporary Art from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong opening ceremony event at the Bendigo Art Gallery.
Majestic mountainous terrains similar to the infamous ones at Guilin, China were painted in royal blue ink with exotic Indian handmade paper as the canvas. Yao then infused a sense of sparkling brilliance to his masterpiece using gold leaves to portray the myriad of inspirations gained on his inspirational journey in the land down under.
The Ink Remix event is a showcase of how ink, as a medium, boasts limitless abilities in being manifested. These talented artists from East Asia revolutionised the ancient ink art, which is steeped in history, with roots stemming from the Tang dynasty into a dynamic and even playful art form. From Charwei Tsai (蔡 佳 葳)'s black ink on lithographs, Peng Wei (彭 薇)'s ink imprinted designs on Sergio Rossi's boots to He Xiangyu (何 翔 宇)'s ink and Coca-Cola on silk.
Peng Hung-Chih's 5 channel video is one of the more radical creations. On a white wall the artist inscribes in oil and dog food phrases and words from classic Chinese religious and philosophical texts, including the Dao De Jing and the Analects of Confucius. On cue, the dog licks the wall clean and the process is repeated. Digital technology then lends its magical touch in reversing the film footage and *Woof!* the dog becomes the artist as it writes rather than obliterate these sacred texts. Art is a limitless subject, and the only limit is the one imposed by the artists (humans or canine?) in coming up with their own distinctive artwork.
Sophie McIntyre, curator of the exhibition, said "This cultural event is just one way that Bendigo and the Australian community at large is building ties with China."
There could not be a more apt location in hosting this event, as Bendigo city itself was built upon the backs of the Australian and Chinese pioneers in the 1850s during the gold rush boom. Bendigo past saw thousands of Chinese immigrants flocking here in search of a better life and fleeing from the ravages of war. It was a period where camaraderie was forged between these two distinctively different groups of people, and where new comrades regardless of their ethnicities were found in a small farming town. The spirit of cooperation, acceptance, mutual respect and good old hard work transformed sleepy Bendigo into the booming Bendigo city that we are so lucky to enjoy now.
Confucius totally inked it when he said, "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
I believe it were ethos such as these that propelled the pioneers of early Bendigo and the East Asia artists at this event to forge ahead despite monumental challenges in their paths. So whatever obstacles you might be facing right now, hone in on your victorious past and surely it will guide you in the present towards a sparkling future.
Author: Jasemin Sibo
Leading Image: Bendigo Art Gallery.
Photographs: Shane Carey