Incorporating the elements of wind, water, fire, and earth, the artwork brings important Chinese and Aboriginal cultural motifs to inner city Sydney. In both cultures the elements are said to have their own spirits and in the Chinese Zodiac humans were created with the characteristics of elements. The half human, half spirit figures Wing has suspended above Kimber Lane reflect this, representing past, present, and future ancestors. Suggesting heaven and earth, the elements, and respect for ancestors past and present, Wing evokes universal themes and allows the work to open more widely, offering points of connection between other cultures.
The artist’s multicultural heritage gives him a unique perspective on the site, its history and how it functions within the city of Sydney. The work feels like a digital game at times, especially when illuminated at night, as it incorporates a contemporary aesthetic mixed with recognizably Asian motifs. While In Between Two Worlds offers many points of connection for its audience, it also is something of a rupture in public art practice in this area. In the past public art in Sydney’s Chinatown has been formulated within a representational mode of ubiquitous and clichéd elements, such as lanterns and red lighting. While it is important to recognize and locate the Chinese community living and working within the precinct, this aesthetic does little to recognize contemporary Asian culture and its constant evolution. In Between Two Worlds readdresses that, offering a striking and much loved public artwork by a young, multi-racial Australian artist embracing a new dynamic.
All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.