International Projects: Making Change. Celebrating the 40 years of Australia-China Diplomatic Relations

National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney

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Beijing: 13 November - 14 December 2012
Sydney: 23 August - 5 October 2013

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A key change-maker, Whitlam recognised that in order to transform itself into a modern world leader, Australia needed to engage both with its immediate geographic region, Asia, and its original inhabitants, the Aboriginal people. These key aspects of his legacy were inherent to Making Change. It included photographic material of Whitlam’s visits to China in 1971 and 1973 and surveyed recent work by artists who are change-makers in their portrayal of modern Australia. It featured works by Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Brook Andrew, Richard Bell, Gordon Bennett, Mervyn Bishop, Daniel Boyd, Bindi Cole, Brenda L. Croft, Nici Cumpston, Destiny Deacon, Fiona Foley, Genevieve Grieves, Gordon Hookey, Dianne Jones, Gary Lee, Ricky Maynard, Tracey Moffatt, r e a, Michael Riley, Christian Thompson, Warwick Thornton, Judy Watson and Jason Wing. A bilingual catalogue (English and Mandarin) documented the exhibition.

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Image 1: Prime Minister Gough Whitlam pours soil into the hands of traditional land owner Vincent Lingiari NT, Mervyn Bishop. Courtesy and © the artist 1975

Image 2: 'Making Change' catalogue. © Australian Centre for Photography.

Image 3: Installation view of Richard Bell’s ‘Ministry of Kids’ in the exhibition Making Change at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, Courtesy and © ACP, 2012.

Image 4: Installation view of Christian Thompson’s ‘Heat’ in the exhibition Making Change at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, Courtesy and © ACP, 2012.

Image 5: Opening of Making Change at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, Courtesy and © ACP, 2012.

Image 6: Michael Riley, 'Kristina', 1986, gelatin silver photograph. © Michael Riley Foundation, courtesy The Commercial Gallery.

Image 7: Gough Whitlam and Margaret Whitlam accompanied by Deng Xiaoping are shown a significant archaeological site in Beijing, 1973. Photograph of Herbert Cole 'Nugget' Coombs.

Image 8: Warwick Thornton, 'Stranded', 2011, 3D single-channel video, 11:06 mins duration.

Image 9: Wik Elder, 'Arthur' from 'Returning to Places that Name Us', 2000 © Ricky Maynard. Image courtesy of the artist and Stills Gallery, Sydney.