Thursday 11 Aug 2022 | 05:23 | SYDNEY
Thursday 11 Aug 2022 | 05:23 | SYDNEY

Chinese modern art in Canberra


Sam Roggeveen


4 January 2012 14:50

'Chicken feast' (2005), by Wang Yan. Oil on canvas. (Image courtesy of the NMA.)

While visiting Canberra during the Christmas-New Year break, I got an all-too-brief look at the National Museum of Australia's contemporary Chinese art exhibition, A New Horizon. Featuring works dating from 1949 from the National Art Museum of China, the exhibition is on until 29 January, and like the National Museum as a whole, entry is free.

Although I had never seen these specific works before, the exhibition did bring back the same sense of optimism I felt while visiting Beijing's 798 art district during a trip to China in 2010.

Many China observers worry that the country will struggle to move beyond its current stage of development because it does not innovate — 'where is China's Steve Jobs?', they ask. Others say the Chinese people are too submissive, and that political reform will never happen because the people are content with political repression as long as economic growth continues. For me, the boldness, dynamism and fearlessness of modern Chinese art puts a big dent in this scepticism.

The exhibition is not traveling to any other Australian museums, so do take a look if you're in Canberra.