The MCA

The Journey to Australia

2013

Guan Wei, The Journey to Australia (2013) Detail
               

A CROWDED ROWBOAT...

...of refugees heads toward a new land. The ocean, rocks, and the coast guard block their path. These naked figures are 'undertaking perilous journeys across vast oceans, experiencing hardship and pain in an attempt to achieve their ideal of an earthly paradise – Australia.' 1

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The refugees are figures in The Journey to Australia,

Guan Wei’s new wall painting at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, which calls on us to consider the hardship of the refugee experience.

Contemporary Australia is made up of indigenous people and migrants of vastly different experiences. Convicts and first settlers, those leaving war torn homelands or others in search of new opportunities, each has contributed their unique stories to the social fabric of this country.

Guan Wei, The Journey to Australia (2013) Detail

Guan Wei first left China for Australia in 1989

to take up a three month residency at the Tasmanian School of Art and returned to live here in 1990. He has recently moved back to Beijing with his family but maintains his artist’s studio in Sydney.

Guan Wei's work provokes it's audience to think about the refugee debate in this country, and ask themselves: 'how will we act, we who live under the sun and with great abundance, when faced with a boat load of refugees arriving on our doorstep?'2

               

The MCA has commissioned Guan Wei’s wall painting

in the entrance to the new Museum building. Painted in acrylic, The Journey to Australia continues the large-scale mural work that Guan Wei has created in recent years.

This is the second commission in the Circular Quay foyer, following Helen Eager’s 2012 work Tango. Guan Wei’s The Journey to Australia will be installed in May 2013.

Guan Wei, The Journey to Australia (2013)

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CLICK TO EXPAND CREDITS CREDITS
  • Footnote 1 Guan Wei artist statement 2013
  • Footnote 2 Guan Wei artist statement 2013
  •   Guan Wei
  •   The Journey to Australia (detail, 2013)
  •   Photographer: Alex Davies
  •   Image copyright and courtesy the artist
  •   Guan Wei
  •   The Journey to Australia (detail, 2013)
  •   Photographer: Alex Davies
  •   Image copyright and courtesy the artist
SHFA MCA Council for the Arts Visual Arts