Peach Blossom Spring
Curated by Naomi Segal with Joy Li, Nolan Ho Wung Murphy, NC Qin, Marisa Suen, Zoe Wong & Connor Xia
Opening 03.04.19 6-8pm
Artist Talks 25.04.19 6-7pm
Tao Yuanming’s ancient legend Peach Blossom Spring tells the story of a fisherman who discovers paradise: a secluded community that has existed for generations without any suffering. The fisherman leaves to spread the word to his own impoverished village, but when they return, the peach blossom spring has vanished. It is never found again.
This exhibition explores the search for an ephemeral place, particularly the intangible experiences of diasporic Chinese identity and pasts that cannot be re-lived. Through their works, the artists archive subaltern stories – including oral histories, faraway childhood memories and under-documented experiences of self – before they become erased.
The exhibitors are Joy Li, Nolan Ho Wung Murphy, NC Qin, Marisa Suen, Zoe Wong and Connor Xia. Curated by Naomi Segal.
Naomi Segal is an emerging artist and curator engaging with contemporary Asian and diasporic art. She is drawn to cultural recovery, remembrance and love – specifically how the love of her Chinese family traverses linguistic and cultural barriers. Peach Blossom Spring is her first curatorial project.
Recent art awards include the Girl Genius Award (2018), Little Things Art Prize (2017) and Art Speaks Japanese (2016). She is mentored by Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE and has worked as an Assistant Program Coordinator for The Japan Foundation, Sydney.
Joy Li is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Sydney. Her work examines the intersection where design meets gender, race and cultural studies. She often uses type and image to express the things she feels but cannot explain. Since graduating with a B. in Design in Visual Communications (Hons) at the University of Technology Sydney, Joy has partnered with a number of global brands such as Adobe, Microsoft, Amnesty International and HP. Sometimes her work has been worthy of feature on the likes of Buzzfeed, It’s Nice That and Monotype.
Nolan Ho Wung Murphy is an artist from a mixed Hong Kong and White Australian background; his approach to bi-cultural and racial identity is influenced by Trinh T. Minh-Ha’s ‘Between dog and the wolf’ which describes the metamorphic space of the “in-between”. Within this space, he navigates the push and pull tensions that emerge from a multiplicity of cultural identities and conveys the turmoil of such instability. Manifesting such a space, Murphy applies black and white photography to his large scale ink paintings, forming greyed images that drift between nebulous floating landscapes and fluctuating bodies, seeking to blur understanding and clarity between these two.
Murphy has studied a Bachelor of Media Arts (Honours) at UNSW Art and Design, completing his 2018 Honours year in Fine Arts. Furthermore in 2018, he was a finalist for the Jenny Birt Award, receiving ‘Highly Commended’, and a finalist for the Kudos Emerging Artist Award, he has further exhibited at the UNSW Galleries and received an Industry Award at the 2018 Annual Show.
NC Qin's sculptural practice examines the human psyche and seeks to express abstract emotional experiences in visual analogies. Through the medium of cast glass, she connects the process of material creation and engagement with evolutionary desires to grow and master our circumstances. With her Armour series, she delves into emotions - targeting those of pride and wrath, how they are perceived in the Chinese culture and explores the defence/coping mechanisms that are commonly used, their effectiveness and how they relate to the overall human experience. In her work, she often refers to Chinese cultural and historical values that are informed by Daoist philosophy and practice. Graduating from SCA with a Bachelors in Visual Arts in 2015, NC Qin is a Sydney based artist who has exhibited around Australia in Wagga Wagga National Glass Art Museum, Griffith Regional Art Gallery, Fisher Library, Rookwood Cemetery’s HIDDEN walk and 541 Art Space and most recently she was a finalist in the National Emerging Art Glass Prize 2018. She currently works in Studio4 as an artist, educator and assistant to Kate Baker, aiming to master and explore new ways to bring a traditionally craft based medium (glass) into the broader dialogue of contemporary art.
Marisa Suen is a multidisciplinary maker of ~things~ often exploring body, object and space. She mainly uses the medium of textiles to blur the spatial boundaries between body and object. The process for the maker, wearer and viewer through interaction and movement are a mutating experience. hide and seek is a work about constant confusion and cyclical questioning in the state of the IN BETWEEN as an ABC (Australian Born Chinese) — too Chinese in an Australian context, but too white in a Chinese context. The work invites the audience to crawl in and experience the questioning and realisation of the self in an isolating yet comforting surrounding.
Zoe Wong is an emerging Sydney based artist. Her practice explores her half Chinese, half Australian heritage as well as her queer identity through photographic appropriation and mixed media installations. Her work examines how pop culture shapes understandings of race and identity, and how we perceive ourselves through representation in mass media. Wong describes her practice as a “De-Orientalising” practice in which she works to break down and critique notions of the East presented in a Western context.
Connor Xia is a first-generation Chinese-Australian animator and emerging interdisciplinary artist working on gadigal land. Born in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, he was surrounded and influenced by rich aspects of multiculturalism from an early age. Xia acknowledges the importance of recognising the 56 minority groups of China and understands each group has their own unique and distinct cultural practices.
With his current work, ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, Xia attempts to reconnect with his han Chinese culture and heritage through found photos and objects acquired from his recent visit to his hometown. His practice explores the linguistic relationship between people and culture, with a focus on the disconnection felt among diasporic communities alongside the loss of language - the feeling of familiarity and comfort being just out of grasp. Xia is a recent graduate with a B. in Design in Animation at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Joy Li, FOODogs China Plate, 2017
Zoe Wong, The little brother (2), 2019
NC Qin, "Head Case" (Phantom of Ego series), 2018-2019
Nolan Ho Wung Murphy, ‘Between a Dog and a Wolf’, 2018