2006 Contemporary Commonwealth. Presented by Australian Centre for the Moving Image and National Gallery of Victoria. 2006 Contemporary Commonwealth. Presented by ACMI and the National Gallery of Victoria


China China – Bust 66 (detail) 2002
polychrome enamel on porcelain
34.5 x 39.0 x 22.0 cm
Collection of the artist
© Ah Xian
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Artist Biography

Ah Xian was born in Beijing in 1960. Initially trained as a painter, Ah Xian was a practising artist in China throughout the 1980s. Following the events in Tiananmen Square in 1989, he sought political asylum in Australia and moved to Sydney in 1990. Since the 1990s, Ah Xian has united traditional Chinese materials and techniques with a contemporary sculptural practice to address issues surrounding cultural displacement, identity politics and the relationship between East and West. His recent works continue to explore the material and symbolic possibilities of techniques such as lacquer-ware, bronze and cloisonné to represent the human form. In 1999 Ah Xian was included in the Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. Major solo exhibitions include China, China – Recent Porcelain Works of Ah Xian, Beijing Teachers University, Beijing, and Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2000; and Ah Xian Meets Jingdezhen, Museum of Frankfurt, Germany, 2002. Ah Xian lives in Sydney.


China China – Bust 62 2002
China China – Bust 66 2002
China China – Bust 71 2002
China China – Bust 72 2002
China China – Bust 73 2002

Artist Statement

1. The Commonwealth was established as a result of early exploration, aggression, occupation and colonisation by the United Kingdom.

2. Australia is one of the Commonwealth countries.

3. Australia is peaceful, beautiful, young, free and where I call home.

4. Contemporary Australia is no longer satisfied to just follow the United Kingdom. It now also looks to the United States.

5. A geographically defined country and its people have never been considered the same as their government, no matter what the social system.

6. In our wisdom and in our highly developed technological, contemporary human world the law of the jungle is still effective and widely practised, always under the cover of good names such as 'human rights', 'democracy', 'freedom' and 'justice'.

7. Although politics and art both play major roles in human history, politics is usually a short-lived way by which people practise their greed and lust for power (ruling other people and even the world). However, art is ever-precious, exploring our peaceful, bright and never-ending imagination.

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