Datsun Tran: Life consumes life

Mars Gallery Datsun Tran, Heroes on the frontier, 2018Reflecting upon his own experiences of racism and alienation to critically explore issues of immigration, entitlement and ownership within Australia, MARS Gallery presents Datsun Tran’s Life consumes life: animal-laden paintings of acrylic and metallic leaf that are self-investigative, yet political.

Life consumes life was provoked by Tran’s sense of division grounded on indifference to cultural diversity within Australia. Drawing upon his own experiences of racism (noting the rise of Pauline Hanson in the 90’s and similar), his work is intended to challenge perceptions of immigrants and multiculturalism. Here, the cane toad, rabbit and fox, deemed pests in Australia, are likened to immigrants and refugees in Australia.

“I like to tell stories through animals. I can reflect on human behaviour through them, and even glimpse myself in them.” – Datsun Tran

These animal subjects are caught in surreal stillness, in the midst of chaos, and in awe-inspiring landscapes. Scenes of them at war with one another is intended to reflect the current state of the world: “it is an allegory for the fight we are now facing on a global level for space, resources and the growing cultural war,” adds Tran.

Ultimately, Life Consumes Life is Tran’s call for the need of adaption to change: “Pressing pause on change is not only impossible, but a wilful decision to stagnate. Instead of trying to preserve a certain version of Australia in amber, why not acknowledge and own its bloody history, so we can shape a future that is inclusive of Australians old and new?”

Tran is a Melbourne-based multidisciplinary artist and first generation Australian from Chinese refugee parents. His highly personal work has been influenced by all facets of his life, whilst paying homage to his Chinese heritage with suggestions of ancient calligraphy techniques and motifs.

Datsun Tran: Life consumes life
MARS Gallery, 7 James Street, Windsor
Exhibition continues to 15 June 2019
Free entry

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Image: Datsun Tran, Heroes on the frontier, 2018, acrylic and metallic leaf on antique screen, 166.5 x 369 cm