Drawing on expertise in art history, exhibition studies and cultural studies as well as politics and international relations, China in Australasia presents significant new perspectives on the role of art in the cultural diplomacy of the People’s Republic of China.
The book tells the forgotten story of the loan, exchange, and gifting of Chinese art, museum exhibitions—and the use of Chinese arts more broadly—in growing diplomatic relations with Australia and New Zealand, from 1949 to the present day. Its scope includes pre-modern, modern and contemporary sculpture, painting and peasant art, as well as ancient artefacts, performance arts and gardens. In considering the geopolitical connections opened by the arts, this book presents new insights into some of the ways in which China, often in conjunction with local supporters, sought to present itself to the people of Australia and New Zealand. It also considers how, for their part, New Zealanders and Australians worked to expand understandings of their powerful northern neighbour within changing political contexts.
The first of its kind, this book-length interdisciplinary study of Chinese soft diplomacy in Australasia will be invaluable to students and scholars of Chinese studies, cultural diplomacy, museum studies and art history.
Table of Contents
1. China and the Art of Cultural Diplomacy, Richard Bullen, James Beattie and Maria Galikowski
2. Better Late than Never: New Zealand and China, 1949–2016, Chris Elder
3. From Friendship to Fear? Australia–China relations, 1950s–2000s, Nicholas Thomas
4. Embracing Friendship through Gift and Exchange: Rewi Alley and the Art of Museum Diplomacy in Cold War China and New Zealand, James Beattie and Richard Bullen
5. Melbourne Mandarins: ‘Modern Chinese Painters’, 1974, Claire Roberts
6. ‘Imparting Experience’: The Huxian Peasant Painting Tour in New Zealand and Australia, Maria Galikowski
7. Artistic Activism, Cultural Diplomacy and Aotearoa New Zealand, Henry Johnson
8. Displaced Gardens as Sites of ‘Chineseness’: Design and Function, Duncan M. Campbell
9. White Rabbit, Contemporary Chinese Arts, and Soft Power in Chippendale, David Bell
10. Soft Power and the Role of Art in the Development of Taiwan–Mainland China Relations, Sophie McIntyre
James Beattie is Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. As well as his work on Chinese art collecting, James is an environmental historian, researching ecological exchange, gardens, conservation, health, landscape art and history of science.
Richard Bullen is Associate Professor of Art History and Theory at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, where he teaches Japanese art history and art theory.
Maria Galikowski is Senior Lecturer in Chinese at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Her research focuses on the cultural and social transformation of Reform-era China as reflected in the visual arts.
This superbly coherent edited volume brings arts research into a fascinating and productive conversation with politics and history as it considers how arts from China have played a foundational role in shaping and altering understandings of China among those of us living in the Asia-Pacific region.
William Peterson, Senior Lecturer, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University
China in Australasia presents a rich array of studies on the history of cultural diplomacy and cross-cultural exchanges between China and Australia and New Zealand. These stories of collecting and exhibitions are all the more important for standing outside the canonical narratives of twentieth and twenty-first century Chinese international engagement, expanding our understanding of art and exchange not only in terms of the where, but also the when and how. For those outside Australasia, this innovative collection powerfully illustrates the significance of Australia’s and New Zealand’s regional engagements. For those within the region, it offers an especially timely study of these countries’ long-standing and close links to Asia, poignantly contributing to ongoing discussions about connections with their closest neighbors.
Stephen H. Whiteman, Senior Lecturer in the Art and Architecture of China, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Honorary Associate, Art History, The University of Sydney
As the first truly wide-ranging foray into this territory, China in Australasia ought to be considered an essential reader for anyone interested in learning more about the oft-overlooked role of the arts in shaping Australasia’s relations with China. It lays an important foundation for future work in this area, and the editors are to be commended for bringing together such a diverse range of research into a readable, cohesive collection.
Grace Gassin, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa