Chinese Museum Mysteries: Liminal Language 谜团:此岸到彼岸

15 September 2017 - 2 March 2018

Level 2 Contemporary Art Gallery

How does language shape our ability to communicate? Learning a new language opens up possibilities for cross-cultural interaction. In turn, it can also be a limitation when no available words are sufficient to convey what we mean.

Chinese Museum Mysteries: Liminal Language is a family-friendly and interactive exhibition developed from the Chinese Museum's collection. There will be many artefacts on display, including the unique Ying u Tsap Ts'un (Chinese and English Instructor), a set of Chinese–English phrasebooks produced in Canton in 1862. The show invites visitors to start a conversation with other guests by using flash cards made solely from phrases from these historical books.

一句 “ I would like a cup of skinny flat white.”也许曾让初來澳洲的你觉得莫名其妙。原来这是要点一杯由脱脂牛奶冲泡的,咖啡所占比例较拿铁更多的澳式馥芮白。一门语言就像是通往一种文化的大门。这扇门为我们开启了跨文化交流的途径,也带来了言语沟通的迷思。语言究竟如何塑造我们交流的能力?中英翻译到底能不能够传达出我们的本意?

《谜团:此岸到彼岸》将为我们揭开澳华历史博物馆一段尘封百年的往事。以1862年印刷于中国广东的《英语集全》为线索,来自墨尔本大学艺术策展专业的学生 Ella Shi, Wenyue Quan,和 Sofia Yao Wang按图索骥,探寻150年前来到澳洲的中国人学习英文的历史。展览特别设置的互动环节鼓励参观者使用写着中英双语的卡片进行交流。在此过程中,我们希望参与者共情百年前的华人在运用英语交流时的障碍与挫折。

我们期待您走进博物馆,与我们一起追忆从此岸到彼岸的那些事儿。

Download Media Release of this exhibition.

 

The Contemporary art gallery is generously sponsored by:

 

Exhibition Partners

Roles by artist Kong Lin Guang

21 – 25 August 2015

Chao opera, or Teochew opera, which originates from southern China, has a history of more than 3000 years. Like other variants of Chinese opera, it incorporates music, song, dance, martial arts, acrobatics and acting, and relate stories from traditional Chinese literature and folk tales.  Changing times have led to this valuable theatrical form gradually declining in popularity. The photographs in this exhibition showcase Master Kong Lin Guang’s project to capture the painted faces of each character role in Chao opera, and the unpainted faces of the actors. These photographs will provoke visitors to contemplate the significance of the masks and the interchanging roles of these actors on and off the stage.

Master Kong Lin Guang is a photographer, painter and calligrapher. In the past 30 years, Master Kong has won more than 30 national awards in China, and in international photography competitions. He is also the artistic director of a number of public welfare societies.

Kong Linguang (1)

Chinese Anzacs: Chinese Australians and World War One

14 July 2014 – 31 July 2015

When World War One was declared in 1914, Australia rallied behind the Allied efforts. More than 330,000 mobilised personnel were called to action, of which, a small proportion were Australians of Chinese descent. Billy Sing, Caleb Shang and Hunter Poon are some of the well-known Chinese Australians who served in the frontline. Other stories remain untold.

As the centenary of World War One dawns on Australia, its history and stories are fast slipping from public memory. In the lead up to the centenary of World War One, the Chinese Museum has been researching these untold stories of Chinese-Australian war contributions both at home and abroad. Some of this research will be presented in an exciting new exhibition which seeks to reignite public and community interest in World War One and to present an alternative, community-centred commemoration of World War One which cannot be achieved through history books.

Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, C00429

Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, C00429

Chinese Anzacs exhibition is proudly sponsored by:
Department of Veteran’s Affairs
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Victorian Multicultural Commission
History Teachers Association of Victoria

Wekan Liao

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From Taiwan, Wekan Liao was on a working holiday visa when he found out about the Museum. He was fascinated by the Guided Museum Tour and the rich history of Chinese Australians. With a passion in Chinese culture, Wekan decided to volunteer at the Museum with our Finance Officer, Pody Tung.

Wekan assisted in the preparation of weekly banking and bookkeeping. “Although these tasks can be challenging, I always feel supported. Whenever I ask a question, Pody would explain in detail with patience”, Wekan describes his experience.

Wekan is now back in Taiwan and planning to pursue higher education in Australia. We wish him all the very best for the future.

A postman’s Chinese teapot in a basket

This tea set was given to Cecil Douglas (1897-1961) who worked as a postman delivering mail from the General Post Office in Melbourne. It was one of a number of gifts he received from appreciative Chinese customers. He was also given embroidered handkerchiefs and once, a German Shepherd puppy.

Others recall drinking tea from sets like these in the old clan stores in Little Bourke Street. Do you have any memories of these tea sets? We’d love to hear them. If you do, email our Curator at curator@chinesemuseum.com.au.

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Hand-painted teapot and two teacups in padded basket, 1920s-1930s. Donated by Karen Bevan (2014.14)