Zhou Xiaoping: Spiritual Bonding between Land and People

Exhibition Details

The exhibition starts online first on 27 July 2020, with the physical exhibition at a late date.

Exhibition e-Catalogue


Artist Statement

The world suddenly seems to be a roaring lion that does not welcome a human invasion.

In 2020, under the worldwide attack of the coronavirus, humans seem to be awakening. The humans who have occupied the world are not powerful as we thought. We may fall in an instant. It is very frustrating that if the world is without humans, it will still continue in its life and beauty. So people in this world are more like guests.

From April 2017 to April 2018, I held a touring exhibition entitled Dialogues with The Dreaming: The Art of Zhou Xiaoping in Australia at Beijing’s Today Art Museum, Chengdu’s Contemporary Art Museum, Jiangsu’s Modern Art Museum and the Shenzhen Art Museum, in China. The exhibition demonstrated my cross-cultural artistic practice and brought together the influence of Chinese, Western and Aboriginal culture and art concepts. In this practical process, I realised how important cultural reconciliation and civilisational exchange are.

When I lived in the Outback, it allowed me, as an artist, to re-examine the complexity and the weight of the world I live in, and to reconsider the origins of art, thus providing more possibilities for the recreation of art – in particular, the main forms of creative expression in contemporary art, including protests, satire, counterculture, and subversion. Subversion is not the only method of artistic creativity. Learning and borrowing inspiration from nature are also highly creative. The richness and might of nature go far beyond human imagination. In the human world, the Aborigines understand the richness of nature better than anyone, and the power of divinity makes that richness greater. Every national culture contains divine genes and molecules.

Looking back at my artistic creation process in Australia, I feel that I followed the path of "learning from nature" from the traditional Chinese culture that I accepted when I was young, then followed that path from China to the world of the Australian Aborigines.

This exhibition is a continuation of the 2017 Dialogues with The Dreaming exhibition in China, and it is a sorting and inspection of my thirty-year creation of art. The works are all located in Australia, at Western Sydney University, Live in Art Sydney, and the Museum of Chinese Australian History and the ACAE Gallery, both in Melbourne.

Zhou Xiaopingdon't speak for me

Don't speak for me, 2010, by Zhou Xiaoping

Artist Biography

Zhou Xiaoping is a Melbourne-based artist and curator, born and educated in China. Since 1988 he has been actively engaged with Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land and the Kimberley.

He has created a unique artistic style by incorporating his new Aboriginal experiences into the traditional Chinese classic painting that he had learnt in China. Chinese and Aboriginal arts and cultures meet in his artworks, generating a new aesthetic while telling his story in Australia.
zhou xiaoping bio image
Zhou's collaboration with the late Jimmy Pike resulted in the first exhibition of Aboriginal art work at Hefei Jiuliumi Art Museum, Hefei, China in 1996, and then held at the National Gallery of China in 1999.

He was the driving force behind the ten-year “Trepang: China and the Story of Macassan--Aboriginal Trade” project from 2002 to 2011, in collaboration with Professor Marcia Langton, Foundation Chair in Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne, which led to several exhibitions and a significant publication.

Zhou was the principal artist in “Trepang: China & the Story of Macassan – Aboriginal Trade”, both at The Capital Museum in Beijing and the Melbourne Museum in Australia in 2011.

The international award-winning documentary film “Ochre and Ink” was broadcast on ABC1 Australia, in 2012.  In 2014, Zhou was invited by the Australian Embassy in Paris to open his solo show at the Embassy.

Zhou has held 50 solo exhibitions worldwide, and has published two Chinese language books on his experiences with Aboriginal communities. He has worked on a mural project at Mutitjulu in Central Australia. In 2014 he was invited to undertake a residency at the University of French Polynesia and Museum of Tahiti and its Islands.

Most recently, Zhou was awarded the Australia China Council grant to tour his solo exhibition “Dialogues with The Dreaming – the art of Zhou Xiaoping in Australia”.  The key component of the project is to conduct educational lectures at 15 major universities and 6 public talks at community libraries, to create dialogues with local artists during the exhibitions to share the stories of Aboriginal culture through his personal experience as a Chinese Australian artist. The unique stories articulated through the high quality artwork has attracted the wide media coverage reaching a broad audience in both Australia, China and internationally.