Confucius Institute at La Trobe University Supports Return of Zhou Xiaoping’s Australian Aboriginal Art Exhibition to China

[Source]    Confucius Institute at La Trobe University, Australia [Time]    2017-06-21 13:34:59 

On June 10th, the opening ceremony of the exhibition “Back to Earth—the Art of Zhou Xiaoping in Australia” was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chengdu (Chengdu MOCA).The exhibition was co-organized by the Confucius Institute at La Trobe University. Over 30 paintings were displayed to show the Chinese audiences Zhou Xiaoping’s observations on Australian aboriginal people for 28 years. Timothy Edward White, Consul-General of the Australian Consulate-General in Chengdu, Lan Qingwei, Director of Chengdu MOCA, and Prof. Wu Yongqiang, an eminent connoisseur from Sichuan University were present at the opening ceremony of the exhibition. The audience was made up of over 300 people.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, Timothy Edward White expressed that, over the past three decades, Zhou Xiaoping has been dedicated to sustaining the exchanges between China and Australian aboriginal people. Through art, Zhou Xiaoping has displayed Australia’s beautiful landscape and the spiritual bond between aboriginal people and lands from his perspective as someone born and raised in Anhui, China.

Zhou Xiaoping addressing at the opening ceremony

A variety of artworks are on display, including paintings, photography and multimedia works, which not only unfolded the lifestyles of the aboriginal people but also reflected the cultural exchanges between China and Australia. Zhou Xiaoping’s paintings have incorporated elements of Chinese ink-wash painting with aboriginal people’s rock art and bark painting. In a same painting, the canvas can be the combination of rice paper and cloth while the painting materials are blends of ink, acrylic and crude ore. The picture thus feels both smooth and rough, depicting the features of tranquility and simplicity.

Zhou Xiaoping participating in an aboriginal ceremony

Zhou Xiaoping working on a painting with aboriginal artists

Zhou Xiaoping, Dream Land, 2014

Zhou Xiaoping, Crossing, 2016, ink, acrylic, and oil on rice paper and canvas, 91×132cm

The artworks on display also comprised several collaborative paintings by Zhou Xiaoping as well as the late aboriginal artists Jimmy Pike and Johnny Bulunbulun. From Art to Life is a collaborative work by Zhou Xiaoping and Johnny Bulunbulun. There are freehand-style fish and messy but vivid waves on the left side of the painting, which was done by Zhou Xiaoping by deploying his ink washing technique. The geometric and orderly fish on the right side of the canvas were drawn by Johnny Bulunbulun. At the junction of the left and the right sides, Bulunbulun’s fish swim peacefully into the blue and clear waters drawn by Zhou Xiaoping, constituting a very harmonious picture. Many of his other works also bear the meaning of the fusion of the two worlds. The blank art of the traditional Chinese paintings and such totems of aboriginal culture as circles, fishes, water drops, snakes and elves also appear in Zhou Xiaoping’s paintings from time to time.

Johnny Bulunbulun, Zhou Xiaoping, From Art to Life, 2009, acrylic, natural pigments, and ink on rice paper and canvas, 170×285cm

Back to Back—Portrait of Jimmy and Zhou Xiaoping, 1999, acrylic on rice paper

Scene of the display at the opening ceremony

The exhibition has obtained full support from the Australian Embassy in China, Australia-China Council under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Australian Consulate-General in Chengdu. The exhibition in Chengdu will be concluded on July 9th, and the tour will then move on to its next leg at Jiangsu Modern Art Museum from September 9th to 30th. With the assistance of the Confucius Institute at La Trobe University, more exhibitions will be held in the northern part and some distant suburban areas of Melbourne in Australia.

Story by Jian Xuelian; Photos by Zhou Xiaoping