The Burrangong Affray: Jason Phu & John Young Zerunge

<p><em>The Burrangong Affray</em>: Jason Phu &amp; John Young Zerunge</p>


29 June 2018 -
12 August 2018


4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

181-187 Hay St, Haymarket

Exhibition opening:
Thursday 28 June, 2018.


Chinese Cemetary, Murrumburrah

Community Offering in Young, NSW
Saturday 21 April, 2018
From 10am.

Between November 1860 and September 1861 the New South Wales goldfields of Burrangong, near the present day township of Young, was the the site of Australia’s largest racially motivated riot. Rising antagonism over gold mining disparities and cultural habits saw trivial misunderstandings intensify into racial tensions that erupted into violence across the goldfields. Over 10 months, Chinese miners were subjected to threats, robbery and sustained acts of violence.This anti-Chinese sentiment had swept through the goldfields of Victoria in the 1850s and by the early 1860s had reached a flashpoint in New South Wales, provoking public opinion and debate. In Sydney, the NSW Parliament responded to the contention by passing legislation to restrict Chinese immigration and began, alongside Victoria and South Australia, to write the prelude to the White Australia Policy.

Through a series of residencies in Young and surrounding historical sites, Chinese-Australian artists Jason Phu and John Young Zerunge trace the events and repercussions of this period of civil disobedience. Supported by historian Dr Karen Schamberger, the artists’ research-led practice interweaves these accounts of history to create contemporary mediations that reflects upon the forces of identity, economics, race and otherness in Australia today. This collaborative history project will bear a legacy publication.

This exhibition is the second iteration of a four-part exhibition project. The first was be realised in Young in April 2018.

A dim-lit gallery space with a series of black and white posters on the left wall and a video of a female face with red hair braided back projected onto the back wall.
A dark gallery space with a projection of a Caucasian woman's face. She has red hair braided back, freckles along her checkones and along her jawline and neck.
Three framed photographic prints on a grey gallery wall. The left shows a figure watching a series of the fires in the night, the middle print is of some grassy riverbeds in the Australian outback and the right shows a figure lying facedown in the dirt by the river, with a second figure shown legs-down pulling a covering over the lying figure.
Four white cotton sheets painted with symbols, English words and Chinese characters. The upper left sheet shows a chair painted in black and blue ink, surrounded by Chinese characters and the words 'WOOD ROLLED SITTING CHAIRS'. The upper right sheet shows a painted teapot boiling on a blue flame, surrounded by Chinese characters and the words 'TEA LEAVE ROLLING WATER'. The lower left sheet shows two bok choy, a garlic head and an insect surrounded by Chinese characters and the words, 'VERY TASTY SPRING ROLLS'. The lower right sheet shows a curled bicep and fist with a blue rolled up sleeve, surrounded by Chinese characters and the words, 'ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES'.
A dim-lit gallery space with four white cotton sheets painted with symbols, Chinese characters and English words in black and blue ink on the left wall. On the right wall is a series of black and white posters, showing English and Chinese names, barren trees in the Australian outback and figures of East Asian appearance.
A series of 27 black and white posters showing barren trees in the Australian outback, a photograph of the Milky Way and figures of East Asian appearance. Some of the posters are printed with handwritten words such as 'Lambing Flat', 'James Roberts' 'Wiradjuri Exists', 'Haven at Currawong', 'Shelter All' and 'Homesickness'. Some posters are printed with handwritten Chinese characters.
A white gallery space with three dancing characters painted on the white walls. One of the figures has two heads situated on two long necks, four arms and two feet, with three LED screens lined straight down the body. A ring of stainless steel pots, kitchen utensils and toy drums is arranged on the hardwood floor.
A figure painted in grey paint on a white gallery wall, with two heads, two long necks, four arms and two feet. One of the heads is crying a tear while the other has an angry expression, one of the hands is holding a baguette, the other holding a lightbulb, the other hovering over a flame and the other reaching for a block of gold with wings. Three LED screens are lined straight down the middle of this body, as if it were a spine. There is also a black cap and a pop-top water bottle fixed to the wall.
A red kid's play tent is suspended from a white gallery ceiling and attached to the wall with a matching play tunnel. Two mannequin legs wrapped in two feathery green boas hang from the blue floor of the tent. Black sneakers are attached to the ends of these legs. The tent is suspended over a ring of stainless steel pots, cooking utensils and a toy drum.
Close-up of words handwritten in grey ink on a white wall. The words read, 'The lion for us Chinese is a sybol [sic] of good luck but if you are at a zoo and you are feeding a lion a cartoonishly large bit of raw meat don't stick your hand too far down but also did you know lots of people die using fireworks in China as I'm sure they do all over the world some fireworks are banned in some parts of the country but still, durining [sic] New Years everyone lets a few bangers off and most times walking home you see a rooftop or two on fire'.