Performing Transculturality and Chineseness in Australasian Contemporary Art

Dr Wah Guan Lim1, Dr Justine Poplin2, Dr Yu-Chieh Li1, Dr Tiffany Shuang-Ching Lee3

1University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 2Victoria University, Melbourne , Australia, 3National Taiwan University of Arts, Taipei, Taiwan

Chair: Dr Yu-Chieh Li


This panel seeks to understand the confluence and convergence between art, performance art and performance in Australia, China and the Chinese diaspora. The four papers, from the perspectives of visual culture, performance and museum studies, analyse transculturality in contemporary visual and performing art practices associated with shifting notions of Chineseness. Both Justine Poplin and Tiffany Shuang-ching Lee explore transcultural digital and visual media in museums.  While Poplin examines the changing visual representation of contemporary Chinese art in Australia that marks an ideological shift between viewer and subject, Lee surveys the e-learning resources of children’s galleries between the Queensland Art Gallery, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Taiwan’s National Palace Museum, to extract and compare fundamental differences between Eastern and Western design cultures.  The avant-garde performances and performance art that Yu-chieh Li and Wah Guan Lim study explore the interstices between subject/self, tradition/contemporary and local/international.  Focusing on performance artists in the Chinese-speaking world, Li’s paper positions them on the cusp of contemporary performance and local ideas of Wu/Shamanism, seeking simultaneously to dialogue with performance art canons in Euroamerica.  Lim’s paper investigates the politics of language in contemporary Singapore by revisiting the socio-historical context in which its first multilingual play premiered (1988) to reveal the problematics that mask the city-state’s multiracial construct.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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