Saturday, 28 January 2023
China Today Arts Week Showcase
It’s my great pleasure to be with you at the China Today Arts Week Showcase.
In addition to the launch of this outstanding exhibition, we are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and Australia, as well as the long tradition of cultural exchange between the Adelaide Festival Centre and Chinese cultural organisations and artists.
Previously as a diplomat, and now as Governor, I have seen the important role the arts can play in diplomacy and strengthening people to people relations.
Demonstrating an understanding of a country’s artistic practice is a powerful way to show an understanding of a country’s culture, history and national story.
As a diplomat I had the privilege of working for over a decade in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China, where I developed an appreciation for Chinese artforms, in particular porcelain.
The feel of the join, invisible from the outside, of Ming vases is one of the many pleasures of coming to know Chinese ceramics.
I’m very pleased that this exhibition gives South Australians the opportunity to view 50 outstanding porcelain works from Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, China’s ‘porcelain capital’, created at various times during China’s 1700 year history of porcelain production.
I also look forward to exploring the pieces from artists in Heilongjiang Province, also in China’s north-east, including paintings, prints, watercolours and more.
Heilongjiang is known for its icy winters, and this is reflected in ice and snow paintings in this exhibition – a welcome and striking contrast to the heat we have been experiencing in Adelaide!
I note that Adelaide, Jingdezhen and Harbin are all members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
This demonstrates further the underlying artistic ties shared by South Australia and China, and our mutual commitment to creativity and the arts.
I thank the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, China’s Consulate General in Adelaide, the Chinese Embassy in Canberra, and especially Cultural Counsellor Song, for making this exhibition possible.
We appreciate your contribution to enabling these fine examples of Chinese artwork to be shared with South Australians, so they can enjoy the beauty of these works and learn more about Chinese culture, history and artistic practice.
This exhibition is part of ongoing cooperation with the Adelaide Festival Centre to celebrate the Lunar New Year, including a concert this afternoon, and I thank the Centre for supporting South Australia to grow its international connections through art.
Adelaide Festival Centre has been a consistent contributor to cultural engagement with China for almost twenty years, particularly through the OzAsia Festival, which has showcased the creativity and innovations of many Chinese Australian artists.
I acknowledge Douglas Gautier’s central role as CEO and Artistic Director in driving this engagement since his appointment in 2006.
I wish the exhibition every success, and I hope the Year of the Rabbit brings you all prosperity and joy.