An exhibition of contemporary art by Victorian-Asian artists navigating the hyphenated space between cultures

March 22 - April 21, 2018

Artists: Rushdi Anwar, Sofi Basseghi & Ehsan Khoshnami, Andy Butler, Rhett D’CostaTammy Wong Hulbert, 

Nikki Lam, Eugenia Lim, Slippage, Vipoo Srivilasa and Hoang Tran Nguyen

Co-curated by Phuong Ngo and Tammy Wong Hulbert

The Substation, Newport, Victoria

Navigating the Hyphenated Spaces between Cultures

HYPHENATED began as a conversation between two artists of different Asian heritages, discussing how our experiences were similar, but also completely different. We had both experienced living between cultural spaces as Australians of Asian backgrounds, the hyphenated space between Asian-Australian. We felt our perspectives gave us unique insights into the cultural complexity of Australian society. The conversation grew beyond the two of us into an expanded conversation to include other artists. It became the platform for our curatorial framework, a series of conversations between artists showing various insights, perspectives and experiences. The artists in this exhibition converse with multiple ideas; their various personal and cultural histories, the individual and the collective in society, loss and transformation through migration, the dynamics of power, race, place, displacement and their sense of belonging.

Each of the artists selected for this exhibition work in contemporary modes and identify as Australians of Asian heritage. The continent of Asia is a broad landmass constituting more than half the world’s population, where thousands of cultures, sub cultures, art forms, languages and religions originate demonstrating astounding diversity. Mass migration to Australia has resulted in cities vibrant with transnational communities identifying with many other cultures. Yet due to our colonial past, Australians have identified more closely with our colonizers, even though geographically our location is in the Asia Pacific region. Since the post colonial era, the conversation of how Australia re-imagines itself has been the subject of debate and discussion in both politics and the arts, particularly with the rise of Asian contemporary art since the 1990s. Our aim for this exhibition was to expand on this conversation from a Victorian perspective. 

The exhibition brings together varying voices of the region to express the complex layers of the hyphenated space in the Australian context in a globalising society. 

RMIT's Contemporary Art and Social Transformation / Multicultural Arts Victoria's Artists Discussion Panel was held on Wed 28 March, 2018. 

Images above: 

Becoming Differently, Rhett D'Costa, 2018, mixed media installation, Still...what is left, Nikki Lam, 2018, video, Finale and Making Crackers, Hoang Tran Nguyen, 2011, video, 

The Substation website, featuring Still...what is left, Nikki Lam and Live to your potential – After Koons’s Balloon Dog, Andy Butler, 2018, video.

Images below: 

The Cows Tongue, Slippage, 2018, gold plated bronze, Elusive Paradise, Sofi Basseghi and Eshan Khoshnami, 2018, video installation, Transient Home City, Tammy Wong Hulbert, 2016-8, mixed media installation, Falling Leaf Returns to it's roots, Nikki Lam, 2014, video and Artificial Islands (Interior Archipelago II), Eugenia Lim, 2018, installation, Irhal (Expel), Hope and the Sorrow of Displacement, Rushdi Anwar, 2013 – ongoing, burnt wooden chairs, black pigment and charcoal, The Masks of Me, Vipoo Srivilasa, 2018, mixed media installation.