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Cultural Fusion: an exhibition of works by five Asian-Australian Artists is an online exhibition that celebrates the beginning of 2022’s Lunar New Year, featuring the works of mid-career Brisbane-based Asian-Australian artists. These include Elysha Rei (Japan), Jonathan Tse (Hong Kong), Kay Watanabe (Japan), Louis Lim (Malaysia) and Paul Bai (China).

The term cultural fusion is a theory that borrows from various theoretical frameworks to provide a more realistic description of the immigrant experience. Specifically, cultural fusion theory describes how newcomers acculturate into the dominant culture and maintain aspects of their minority culture. At the same time, the dominant or host culture also fuses aspects of the newcomer's culture into the dominant culture to create a fused intercultural identity.

Indeed, many of us, our parents, and our grandparents, came to Australia seeking new opportunities and adapting to the new ways of life and local culture in this beautiful country. Our interaction with local culture helps in shaping the new Australian cultural identity. Evidence of this cultural fusion can be seen in this online exhibition, where artists explore aspects of their cultural identity and expressions through art, as well as Asian culture and narratives informed by personal experiences.  Whether the work is referencing Asian culture, exploration of everyday life, or simply experimenting with new concepts, forms and techniques, each artist brings their distinctive perspective to the exhibition through unexpected visuals and contemporary techniques.      

This exhibition, thus, is about the story of our participating artists and their relationships with their cultural identity and their experience as first, second, and third generations of Asian-Australian, reflecting the complex and ever-growing iterations of Asian-Australian identity that continues to emerge from every corner of this country.  The Lunar New Year – a significant cultural event for the Asian-Australian community—in this instance, acts as a cultural platform that brings the artists together, offering a partial glimpse of their experience in being Asian-Australian and showing how this fused intercultural identity informs their art practice.

Cultural Fusion: an exhibition of works by five Asian-Australian artists is aimed to provide an opportunity for our local artists to showcase their works during the most important time of the year while at the same time enabling artists to reflect on and celebrate their cultural heritage.

Note on Lunar New Year:

Lunar New Year festivities are thousands of years old, first celebrated during the Shang Dynasty (1600 – 1046 BC) in ancient China. Each year, Lunar New Year.[1] is celebrated in countries across Southeast and East Asia. Family gatherings, feasts of traditional foods, and new year parades are common Lunar New Year festivities across these cultures. Other customs can vary from culture to culture and place to place. Today, Lunar New Year symbolises a reunion where family members and friends would meet together and enjoy the festivities during the 15 day-long celebrations.

Opening date: Lunar New Year, 1 February 2022

Closing date: Thursday, 31 March 2022.

Curator: Dr Martha Liew

Exhibition assistant: Kaitlyn Shirley

Digital designer: Karen Liew

[1] Lunar New Year is the beginning of a calendar year whose months are moon cycles, based on the lunar calendar.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS

Hiroko Imada   Yarli Allison  I   Yoi Kawakubo  I   Noel Zhang  I   Hyemin Gil  I  Xiaoyuan Wu