It’s been seven months since I’ve seen Kate. For the last few years, she’s been spending roughly half of each year in China. In fact, she’s been living in Beijing for most of this year year, running the Artist in Residence Program at Red Gate Gallery. She also curated a really amazing exhibition called Coming Home which featured the works of thirty-seven Australian Chinese artists.
“Do I look different?”, she asked. “Not a bit”, I told her. Though she remarked that I looked different since I’m now wearing glasses. Given how she has spent most of her year, I guess it was not surprising that we chose to catch up tonight – her first time since arriving back – at Gallery 4 at an exhibition opening called “SpeakEasy”.
Tonight’s exhibition was “Stories of Indigenous and Asian history are explored in this exhibition of contemporary Indigenous and Asian art, curated by Vernon Ah Kee and Aaron Seeto.” My favourite works included a didjeridoo in a guitar case and a series of photographs of a group of young men from Palm Island.
Along the way tonight I got to chat to some interesting artists doing interesting works. One in particular was interested in the centuries old link between Indigenous Australians and Chinese Australians. He is an artist from Melbourne who showed me his work and spoke with passionate interest about this connection. I also chatted with a film-maker who has been following him around communities in Arnhem Land. Another was interested in the psychological impact of the Cultural Revolution on Chinese artists. She too was interested in the idea of going back to China with a film crew to examine some of these issues in a truly meaningful way.
After the exhibition we joined a large group of people and feasted on a wonderful banquet of food in nearby Chinatown. Kate and I will catch up again tomorrow, checking out a few galleries together, and generally just hanging out. Kate – it’s good to have you back.