Elam celebrates Chinese cultural connections

07 February 2017
Burning Event, Xiamen Dada by Kate Woods
Burning Event, Xiamen Dada by Kate Woods

The links between artists in New Zealand and China are the inspiration behind artworks created as part of this year’s Auckland Lantern Festival.

Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland has produced a series of large mats for the festival celebrating the strong artistic and cultural connections between New Zealand and China.

The joint project between the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries and Elam, features eight different images, and also celebrates ‘guanxi’ - the Chinese term meaning relationships, connections and reciprocity - by highlighting the visual stories that exist between New Zealand and Chinese artists.

From Thursday the works will be installed in the Auckland Domain for the duration of the Lantern Festival. The public are invited to rest on the ‘picnic mats’, which feature images by some of China’s foremost contemporary artists as well as staff and alumni from Elam.

This includes the Yangjiang Group, who took part in the 5th Auckland Triennial, Jin Jiangbo, Xian Chang Bian (Field Recordings Collective) including Elam Senior Lecturer Jim Speers, Kate Woods, Zihan Chang, Wanshi Meng, Dorothy Shan, and Yan Wu.

Elam graduate Kate Woods, who was the recipient of an Asia New Zealand Foundation funded artist residency at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing, China, says her mat features an image of the research she undertook about contemporary Chinese art history, particularly the Xiamen Dada group.

Formed in the 1980s, Xiamen Dada artists would often publicly burn their work at the end of an exhibition as an act of self-liberation. Her work entitled Burning Event, Xiamen Dada, features constructed photographs that recreate the Xiamen Dada art group’s happening from the mid-1980s, re-sited in contemporary Beijing.

The picnic mats will be installed near Chinese-New Zealand artist Guy Ngan’s Millennium Tree sculpture in the Auckland Domain. All are welcome to use them.

Elam Art Stories at the Auckland Lantern Festival
9-12 February
Auckland Domain (near food stalls)
To find out more visit www.creative.auckland.ac.nz/lanternfest

Media contact:
Miranda Playfair
Media Relations Adviser
Faculty of Creative Arts & Industries
The University of Auckland
Phone: (09) 373 7599 ext 85029 or (021) 063 8393
Email: m.playfair@auckland.ac.nz