Ah Xian’s porcelain busts are not only pieces of incredible craftsmanship, but they also allude to his own life. Having fled China during 1989, the artist sought asylum in Australia. Ten years later, he returned to his homeland and began this series of work, a reflection on how one’s roots are never far behind. These busts are re-inventions of a great Chinese craft, but they have been liberated from tight restrictions. There are tensions running throughout: between the sombre expressions and at times colourful displays, between the three dimensions of the ceramics and the traditional flat plane of painting, between the intimacy of the portraits he has produced, many of which are of his family and friends, and the political expression of his culture as someone living elsewhere.
Click through on the image for a link to Ah Xian’s page on the Queensland Art Gallery website.