24 Jan 2017 – IEN ANG: Asian Australians, Public Art and the Making of Urban Culture

Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 12.00pm - 2.00pm
The Substation Theatre



Chinatowns in the West have traditionally functioned as ethnic enclaves which were despised by the dominant western culture, while functioning for Chinese immigrants as a refuge from the hostile white society they were surrounded by. In today’s globalised world the meaning of Chinatowns has been transformed, as they have become more open, hybrid and transnational urban spaces, increasingly interconnected within the broader Asia-Pacific region. For Australians of Asian background, Chinatown may be a site of conflicting memories of Australia’s racist history and of cultural marginalisation and ethnic survival, but it is also – in today’s multicultural and cosmopolitan age – an area to be claimed for the expression of new Asian-Australian identities. In Sydney’s Chinatown, public art projects by Asian Australian artists such as Jason Wing and Lindy Lee articulate some of the complexities and ambiguities of what it means to be Asian in Australia today.



PROFESSOR IEN ANG is Distinguished Professor of Cultural Studies at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University (Australia). She is the author of many books, including On Not Speaking Chinese: Living Between Asia and the West and The Art of Engagement: Culture, Collaboration, Innovation (co-edited with Elaine Lally and Kay Anderson). Her work deals broadly with patterns of cultural flow and exchange in our globalised, focusing on contentious issues related to the politics of identity and difference, migration, ethnicity and multiculturalism in Australia and Asia, and issues of representation and complexity in contemporary cultural institutions. She is currently finalising a three-year research project, to result in a new book, provisionally titled ‘Sydney’s Chinatown in the Asian Century: From Ethnic Enclave to Global Hub’.