With an introduction by writer Benjamin Law, the book explores the relationship between humans and animals, the East and the West, through a diverse set of artworks stylistically and conceptually inspired by the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, as well as accompanying written responses to each artist’s chosen animal.
The book features newly commissioned works by well-known Australian artists including Sam Leach, Lindy Lee, Michael Zavros, John Young, eX de Medici, Caroline Rothwell, Joshua Yeldam, Kate Beynon, Tim McMonagle, Christian Thompson, Dane Lovett and James Morrison.
“The Chinese Zodiac project was born out of the continued dialogue between the different cultures working today in the Australian arts. Twelve artists embraced a culture that wasn’t their own. By responding to and embracing Chinese traditions alongside their unique heritage the project celebrates the multicultural face of contemporary Australian society,” said Eleonora Triguboff (Publisher, Art & Australia).
The project provides a beautiful symbolic gesture of friendship and respect between Australia and China and highlights the significance of the Chinese New Year Festival and Chinese culture in Australia. Several of the featured artists have Chinese heritage (Lindy Lee, John Young and Kate Beynon) showcasing the strong artistic links and engagement Australian artists have with Chinese culture both locally and internationally.
“Chinese Zodiac is a glorious marriage of Australian contemporary art with Chinese ancient culture. By turns spectacular and sombre, provocative and poignant, this isn’t just a showcase of some of this country’s best visual artists, but an exploration in how Chinese culture increasingly informs – and is embedded in – Australia’s own,” said Benjamin Law.
Chinese Zodiac is available from good bookstores including Ariel and Kinokuniya, as well as the AGNSW Sydney, NGV Melbourne, and NPG Canberra. It’s available online at: artandaustralia.com/shop