Reclaiming Narratives: Melbourne Artists respond to I Am Not A Virus is an artist-led exhibition series to confront xenophobia, bust stereotypes and provide a counter-narrative to issues of long-standing racism in Australia that are revealing themselves in the face of COVID-19. The project responds to the increase in racist attacks including verbal threats, physical intimidation, denial of services, workplace discrimination and being coughed and spat upon since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This project includes works by Sophia Cai, Yunyang Cen, Yeon Ju Chun, Tessa-May Chung, Jacqueline Dixon, Sai-Wai Foo, Jingwen (Jina) He, Derek Ho, Wina Jie, Judy Kuo, Phu La, Youbi Lee, Mimi Leung, Feifei Liao, Nathan Liow, Jacqueline Lo, Jocelin Meredith, Deborah Ong & Joe Paradise Lui, Sean Stephen Ryan, Elina Simbolon, Sicheng Shuai, Sarah Tan & Deborah Faye Lee, Clarine Wilmar, Benjamin Tsok Wee Yap, Kelly Yoon, and Maggz & Amy Zhang
This Melbourne project has been produced by Lena Nahlous (Diversity Arts Australia) and co-curated by Wilson Yeung Chun Wai (Curatorial Collective) and Kevin Bathman (Diversity Arts Australia). We would like to acknowledge the project support provided by Katherine Wai Yee Lee, Jan Wing Ting Sze, Ava Dong, Helen Chung, Jahan Rezakhanlou-Taubman, and Mara Braun; the exhibition design of Tiger Yuanlong Zheng; and the advisory support of Dr Tammy Wong Hulbert (RMIT) and Kelly Yoon.
This project is an initiative of Diversity Arts Australia in partnership with the Asian Australian Alliance, Democracy in Colour and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art with financial support from the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, Create NSW, City of Sydney, City of Parramatta and Inner West Council.
Project supporters from Melbourne include RMIT Curatorial Collective, Creative Brimbank, Melbourne Fringe Festival, RMIT Contemporary Art and Social Transformation (CAST) research group, RMIT INTERSECT, and RMIT Student Life.
On show at the Bowery Gallery from 4 December 2021 to 22 January 2022
Image credit - Sai-Wai Foo, Eat Your Words, 2020/2021, Polyester, cotton poplin, polyester/cotton thread, cotton embroidery thread, recycled plastic pellets. Machine-stitching, hand finishing and hand embroidery