Year of Australian Culture in China: Art lover’s delight


The Year of Australian Culture in China has got off to a flying start since it was launched in June with many more events lined up across China in the months to come, writes Sophie Loras.

In the lead up to the launch of Imagine Australia: the Year of Australian Culture in China, organisers were still locking in major sponsors, and dates for many of the events were still being confirmed. However, since Imagine Australia was launched in June, there has been no looking back. It kicked off with a spectacular opening concert at Beijing’s National Centre for Performing Arts and Aboriginal Art from Australia’s Deserts – a joint exhibition of two of Australia’s leading centres for Aboriginal art – ‘Papanya: out of the Australian desert’ and ‘Balgo: Contemporary Australian Art from Balgo Hills’ at the national Art Museum of China in Beijing had received more than 170,000 visitors over its 10-week run.

July and August were musical months for the Year of Australian Culture in China, with performances from some of the country’s finest music groups including the award-winning University of Newcastle Chamber Choir, the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Winthrop Singers, Tetrafide and Tasmanian Chamber Brass.

China’s big cities have not been the only parts of China to benefit from Year of Australian cultural programmes in China – West Australian artist Heath Marshall took his music to China’s far western Xinjiang province for the Kashgar Tourism and Culture Festival and also performed at Qingdao’s internationally-renowned beer festival in August.big_bang_cover_thumb


The art world has not missed its opportunity to be showcased as part of Imagine Australia. In July, Judith Neilson, whose not-for-profit White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney houses one of the largest collections of Chinese contemporary art outside of China, launched The Big Bang: Contemporary Chinese Art from the White Rabbit Collection (pictured right) in Beijing. The compendium showcases the works of 75 of China’s contemporary artists whose masterpieces are housed at the Sydney gallery.

national_boys_choir_thumbThe month of September sees an array of artistic talent on display with PostEDEN – a collection of provocative and controversial artworks from Australian and international artists. The National Boys Choir (pictured left) will visit Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xi’an, Beijing and Tianjin at the end of September, while Dream Worlds – Australian Moving Image 2010, will run on the spectacular 27-meter Sanlitun Village Screen in Beijing until October 16 (pictured top left).

From September 16, some of Australia’s best contemporary artists will be on show at a special Australian exhibition as part of the 6th Songzhaung International Art Festival in Beijing and will feature new and innovative works by leading Australian artists who are currently or recently resident in China. The artworks explore and reflect on themes ranging from responses of Australians abroad to different environments, the Chinese diaspora as long-time Australians, to the Australian environments – natural, political and cultural and is curated by Beijing-based Australian curator Reg Newitt of China Art Projects.

*For a full listing of Imagine Australia: Year of Australian Culture in China events visit:
Artists planning cultural activities in China with an Australian connection between June 2010 – June 2011 can send details to:


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