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Jonathan Tse


Jonathan Tse is a Brisbane based artist/printmaker who works in the medium of screen printing, monotype, etching and artist’s book. Since 1993, Jonathan has worked as an adjunct lecturer/demonstrator/technical officer in the Printmaking Department at the Queensland College of Art. His work has been exhibited in exhibitions locally, nationally and internationally, including the 30th Anniversary Shell Fremantle Print Award and National Treasures from Australia's Great Libraries, organised by the Council of Australian State Libraries.

In 2009 Jonathan was one of the three artists invited to work on public art for the new Chinatown Mall redevelopment in Brisbane. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Australia and the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.   


Jonathan’s family immigrated to Australia from Hong Kong when he was six years old. Needless to say, it was a life-changing event for the young boy. As such, collecting childhood memorabilia has been an intrinsic part of the artist’s life for the past two decades – it was his way to make the connection with his past. Jonathan’s practice focuses on his experience as an immigrant and the use of childhood memorabilia, postcards, photographs from his personal collection that provoke a sense of nostalgia. 


In an era gone, an interest in nostalgia remains. In Jonathan’s view, old tin toys have that connection with printmaking: graphics printed on a flat sheet of metal and then fashioned into the shape of a vehicle or animal. For Jonathan, these things were never far from his imagination.   


Interestingly, Jonathan’s ‘appropriation’ of childhood memorabilia was also widely practised by Hong Kong artists during the 1990s when the city was undergoing a political transition. The term ‘installation art’ was coined during the 1990s due to artists reaction to the lack of exhibition space and institutional support for emerging artists in Hong Kong. The practice was characterised by the assemblage or appropriation of everyday objects or childhood memorabilia. In Jonathan’s case, the artist developed new ways of expressing his own identity by incorporating his Asian culture and language into the existing cultural framework. In a way, the appropriation of childhood memorabilia and utilisation of various mediums (such as printmaking, sculpture, paper making etc.) grants the artist freedom to explore the questions of his own cultural identity, social and political issues, offering new possibilities for critical discourse.

Jonathan Tse, The Year of the Mask, 2021

Archival inject print
Paper: Stonehenge 300 gsm

25 cm x 25 cm

Edition of 46

Jonathan Tse, It's a Small World Afterall, 2020

Laser-cut relief print
Paper: Magnani incisioni, off-white 310 gsm

33 cm x 33 cm

Edition of 19

Image shown is an artist's proof

Jonathan Tse, Go Back to Where You Came From, 2016

Installation with 2000 Australian stamps & 1 Hong Kong stamp

Dimension: variable

Jonathan Tse, Nowstalgia, 2012

Paper: BFK Rives, off-white 300 gsm

35 cm x 25 cm

Edition of 10

Jonathan Tse, The Letter that was Never Sent, 2008

paper: Magnani Incisioni 300 gsm

triptych 30 cm x 75 cm

Edition of 20

Jonathan Tse, Subtitles, 2001

Paper: Magnani Incisioni 300 gsm
30 cm x 25 cm

Edition of 30

Jonathan Tse, Postcard from the Past, 1998


 23 cm x 12 cm each 

Edition: unique states

Jonathan Tse, Portrait of an Australian, 1998

Screenprinted artist’s book

13 cm x 9 cm, 32 pp. 

Edition: 10 + 2 A.P

In the form of an Australian passport with a subtly altered coat of arms, Portrait of an Australian advance a notion of what it means to be an Australian. The artist’s family migrated to Australia from Hong Kong in 1975: references to this are included in the text. For child migrants, the process of settling into a new country can be more demanding than it is for adults. Children often have little or no say in the decision to migrate, though the parents may regard them as the main beneficiaries. Portrait of an Australian was produced at a time when a Queensland right-wing political party, One Nation, which opposed non-British immigration, was in the ascendancy. (From notes supplied by Noreen Grahame.) CM  [Portrait of an Australian . screenprint on paper. artist’s proof from an edition of 10. 1998 Brisbane. The Centre for Artists’ Books. Grahame Galleries + Editions, Brisbane.]  

For more information about the collection please contact Martha Liew

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