Devised by Castlemaine based Punctum Inc it represents the regional contribution to the Art Centre Melbourne’s massive Asia TOPA (Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts) program, as well as featuring in White Night Ballarat and the Castlemaine State Festival. It is also one of several national events marking the 160th year of Chinese migration to the Goldfields.
Over the past few months four artists from regional Victoria have been joined by four Chinese-Australian artists in walking a section of the of the Golden Mountain Trail, following in the footsteps of thousands of Guangdong gold seekers, who in the 1850’s travelled via Hong Kong to South Australia, then from the coastal town of Robe to the Central Victorian Goldfields – a trek of over 500kms.
Each artist is responding to how this migration landscape evokes a sense of estrangement or a sense of belonging, and how the landscape reflects the original journey through the dispersal of cultures, flora and customs.
The work created by these artists will inform a participatory exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat; a public gathering in Vaughan Springs on Chinese Walking practices; and a Zen inspired courtyard and installation in Castlemaine in which a tea ceremony will be conducted. Each work and gathering will tell a story of how the Australian landscape is shaped by migration, and how these landscapes shape experiences of passage.
“Australia has a long, living culture of art expressing landscape, which in its most celebrated and unique form is Aboriginal,” says Punctum’s Artistic Director, Jude Anderson. “Because art is great at generating dialogue, we’re hoping that Big Walk to Golden Mountain is a catalyst for conversations on the ongoing shaping of landscape through our history of migration – a movement that has so informed our region since the 1850’s and indeed continues to shape identity and cultural heritage and expression nationally and globally.Placing a spotlight on this heritage and giving it contemporary expression in Australia is a work we consider timely and vital.”
Big Walk to Golden Mountain is formed from two Chinese phrases – Dai Gum San and Gum San. Dai Gum San translates to Big Gold Mountain and is how the Chinese migrants who walked and lived here referred to the Bendigo goldfield region, while Gum San means Gold Mountain and relates to the Ballarat region of Victoria. Big Walk to Golden Mountain brings the two notions of Gum San and Dai Gum San together and references the passage walked between Ballarat and Bendigo, where indeed the works are taking place.
We are inviting people to join in a rare opportunity to experience the landscape by walking through Golden Mountain country with us. For more information, visit: www.punctum.com.au/bwtgm for details.
Image: courtesy of Punctum Inc