John Young Presents Diaspora, Psyche

Zilla & Brook | 28-May-2021
Respected contemporary artist John Young will present a survey of works spanning 17 years (2003 “ 2019) at Bunjil Place Gallery from 26 July-12 September. Diaspora, Pysche brings together, for the first time, two cycles of work from Young's celebrated Double Ground Paintings and recent History Projects. The exhibition presents an exploration of transculturalism, examining historic expressions of cross-cultural ethics, material and cultural exchange, and the effects of diasporic experience on the psyche.
Venue: Bunjil Place
Address: 2 Patrick NE Dr, Narre Warren VIC 3805
Date: June 26-September 12
Ticket: Free
John Young Presents Diaspora, Psyche
Artist John Young
Respected contemporary artist John Young will present a survey of works spanning 17 years (2003 “ 2019) at Bunjil Place Gallery from 26 July-12 September. Diaspora, Pysche brings together, for the first time, two cycles of work from Young's celebrated Double Ground Paintings and recent History Projects. The exhibition presents an exploration of transculturalism, examining historic expressions of cross-cultural ethics, material and cultural exchange, and the effects of diasporic experience on the psyche.

These themes are particularly resonant with local audiences of Bunjil Place. As part of Melbourne's south east, the City of Casey is one of Australia's fastest growing regions, and home to 140 languages and 120 faiths. The exhibition draws upon this context which has informed, in part, the selection of works.

For the first time, Young's History Projects (2008-2019) will be brought into dialogue with the highly regarded Double Ground Paintings (1995-2005), making this the most comprehensive presentation of his practice to date. This pairing will contextualise the recent History Projects, a body of work that centres around the history of the Chinese in Australia since 1840, within the artist's four-decade long investigation into the condition of diaspora and the negotiation of bicultural ethics and perspectives.

Key works from The Persian Paintings series, which speak to the rich diversity of cultural and religious influences of the Persian civilisation will be presented alongside works from the Refugee Patterns series (Red Grid, Summer 2003 pictured right), that feature highly identifiable imagery such as the surface and patterns of ubiquitous plastic shopping bags, characterising the existence and movements of the precarious migrant.

Audiences can also expect to see the acclaimed body of work, Safety Zone (2010), an expansive 60 panel work retracing the days leading up to the Nanjing Massacre of 1931 when, as the Japanese Imperial Army marched closer to Nanjing, 21 Americans and Europeans stayed behind to set up a Safety Zone' that sheltered and saved the lives of some 200,000 civilian Chinese.

Also from History Projects, None Living Knows (2017) narrates a near 2,500-kilometre walk made by Chinese immigrants to Australia in the late nineteenth century from Darwin through the Northern Territory to Camooweal, and potentially as far as Cairns, in search of gold. Finally, paying homage to the traversing lives of the Portuguese, Macanese, and Chinese within the former colony of Macau, Young also features Macau Days (2017) in the exhibition.

John Young (pictured left) is one of Australia's most senior Asian-Australian artists. Distinguished nationally and internationally, his work has been exhibited widely throughout Australia, as well as overseas representing Australia at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and the Kennedy Centre, Washington (1994-5); as well as large-scale touring exhibitions initiated by Australia in the Asia-Pacific (1998-2000); and most recently in a globally touring exhibition curated by the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto (2019-2021).

Diaspora, Psyche will be supported by a selection of research and archival material that has informed these works to provide visitors with greater insight into the complexities of the artist's working practices.

Bunjil Place is an award-winning cultural precinct in the City of Casey that first opened in 2017. The name and striking architectural design of the facility were inspired by stories of Bunjil (also known as Bundjil') the creator', from our First Nation's People. Bringing together an outdoor community plaza, theatre, multipurpose studio, function centre, library, gallery and more “ Bunjil Place is a destination for high quality arts and entertainment in Melbourne's south east.

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