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China

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September 2011 was spent at an arts residency through Red Gate Gallery in Beijing China. By choosing to live in the village component of the accommodation in Bei Gao, I experienced ethnographically the village life and customs, and connected with how locals work in various media. Daily life in the village could be tough, with water, electricity, gas and toilet facilities breaking down regularly, and I learnt that adaptability was a key thing to work on in myself.

Initially my personal stress showed up in nervous and unconnected lines in my work but this settled with time. Although I was enjoying working with native materials I also went out on a tangent and explored the commercial packaging I found in the village. I returned home without any clothes instead a lot of rice-bags and other interesting materials were packed and came home with me to use for building tepees and incorporate into my installation work.

As part of the residency I worked with overseas multimedia artists and we mounted a group exhibition which International embassies and other Chinese dignitaries were invited to attend. We each had to give an artist’s talk which was wonderful for me as I learnt from architects, conceptualists, and artists from all over the globe. A small personal reward for my perseverance through the extreme living and working conditions was received when one of the international embassies bought a piece of my work.

China has an incredible richness of tradition, which I especially found in the temples, and I fear these traditions are at risk of being lost in the emerging landscape. Through each of my art works I aim to incorporate the tapestry of such traditions, again out of a fear that if they are not recorded visually and orally, we may lose these precious links of our human journey, as we say ... yesterday, today and tomorrow ... dreaming.

This work is part of the 2013 Queensland Regional Galleries touring exhibition: We Are All One Under The Skin.

For all Artwork enquiries, please contact Chris Harrison.

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