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My current work Liminal Places focuses on three unique Sydney locations, specifically three Chinese market gardens in La Perouse, Rockdale and Kyeemagh. These sites are of special significance in relation to my personal experience. In Sydney, Chinese market gardens represent a dialogue with place, hybridity and migration. These gardens reflect the history and lives of Chinese migrants, and connect with my experience as a forced labour farming teenager in China during the Cultural Revolution. These gardens symbolise the interconnectedness of my personal history with broader issues such as colonisation and migration. By studying these sites, I have created paintings that analyse the lived local experience of people working in these marginal and liminal gardens, while also addressing the economic and physical characteristic of landscape itself.
By combining Google maps and my observations of these gardens, I interpret imagery that connects both soft and hard forms, to transform these physical features in my painting. My work emphasises a minimal use of dots, lines and shapes on a flattened soft background are focused to contrast, balance, deliberate and carefully consider reflecting these typical marginal spaces surrounded by flat, open natural spaces and regulated residential zones.
The studying of these three Chinese market gardens challenges the static definition of landscape through the conventions of cartography and Western landscape painting. My aim has been to focus on a multi-perspective of local places that interconnect personal experiences, local history and merging culture to transform lived experiences into an embodied language in painting.
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