Fan Dongwang | Icons of Identity
Paintings by Australian Chinese artist Fan Dongwang reveal icons that draw us together rather than apart.
Playing with the multiplicity of meaning Fan Dongwang fuses together diverse cultural imagery to paint a picture of Australia identity in his upcoming exhibition Icons of Identity. Pairing Chinese dragons alongside gum trees, robotics welded to fragmented bodies, and recontextualising traditional Chinese imagery to a contemporary Western setting, the result is a pulsating display of a multicultural society filled with European and Asian influences.
The juxtaposition of Western cultural icons with symbols of technology and Chinese imagery speaks to a wider audience, asking them to consider their notions of place and nationhood.
Celebration is the theme, as the large, bold works manipulate the symbols from the past to act as imagery of the future.
Icons of Identity is presented as the focus exhibition at 541 Art Space during the Chinese New Year, and is an extension of the festival’s program. Fan Donwang’s approach aptly brings in the New Year with an exhibition that celebrates the depth and expanse of Sydney’s multicultural society.
Alongside the exhibition, City of Sydney will present Fan Dongwang’s huge Dragon installation at Circular Quay enabling visitors to physically interact with the spectacle of Chinese New Year.
Whilst the symbols he has selected are densely layered with history and meaning, Fan Donwang depicts them in a positive light. Hope resonates throughout Fan Donwang’s paintings and installations, promoting Australia’s multiculturalism to the wider world – particularly in this turbulent time.
Opening Friday 3 February Icons of Identity is to be opened by Rhonda Davis, Senior Curator at the Macquarie University Art Gallery.
Icons of Identity
541 Art Space, Sydney
20 January – 18 February 2017
Courtesy the artist.
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