Australian arts, culture and creative industries in China
Australia has one of the oldest continuous cultures in the world—that of the Aboriginal peoples—and at the same time has one of the most diverse cultures, being home to people from all corners of the globe.
Since the 1990s, exhibitions of Aboriginal art have toured to Chinese museums and galleries, including the National Museum of Australia's Aboriginal Art from Australia’s Deserts (2010) and the Australian Centre for Photography/UNSW Art & Design's Making Change (2012-13) at the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing, Old Masters: Australia's Great Bark Artists (2018) at the National Museum of China in Beijing with a following China regional tour (2019-2020).
China’s first foreign-owned private art gallery - Red Gate Gallery, was established in Beijing in 1987 by an Australian, Brian Wallace. Australian artists regularly undertake residencies in China and are included in major group exhibitions such as the Shanghai Biennale. Leading Australian artists like Shen Shaomin, Xiao Lu and Guan Wei live and work between Australia and China.
Australia’s world-renowned orchestras regularly tour to China. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has long-term partnerships with the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) and Shanghai Orchestra Academy. In 1980, The Australian Ballet was the first international ballet company to visit China after its opening up, and returns regularly to perform at NCPA and the prestigious Shanghai International Arts Festival. Since 2015, The Adelaide Festival Centre has signed a series of three-year MOUs with the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), China, formally outlining the cooperation and friendship between the two world leading theatre companies.
Other companies such as Circus Oz, Windmill Theatre, Snuff Puppets, Insite Arts and Polyglot Theatre are developing audiences in China, as Australian physical theatre and theatre for young people are recognised internationally for the quality of their productions.
Australian expertise in arts management, audience engagement and heritage and conservation are also in demand.
China is one of the four biggest markets for Australian literature in the world. Australian classics by Colleen McCullough, Patrick White and Thomas Keneally have played an important role in the development of this market, leading the way for contemporary literary voices like Alexis Wright, Liane Moriarty and Julie Koh, and children’s book authors like Graeme Base, Bronwyn Bancroft and Morris Gleitzman.
Since its establishment in 2008, Australian Writers Week in China has been running annually for over twelve years, and the Australian Embassy’s Australia Writes initiative has featured over 70 authors across almost 20 Chinese cities. It is a unique opportunity to share Australia’s literary voices with the Chinese audience and for Australian writers to engage with Chinese authors and promote their works in China. In 2019 alone, social media and online streaming for Australia Writes reached an audience of four million people.
Australia's creative industries have built a global reputation for innovation, talent and energy and play an important role in the Australian economy.
Australian architects have worked on some of China’s most iconic buildings. Beijing’s Water Cube was designed by Australian firm PTW Architects. Australian architecture, fashion and design has been a regular feature of Beijing Design Week since 2014, with focuses on Australian design education excellence and inclusive design.
Screen Australia's support for the film industry has resulted in many overseas film successes. Australian actors Cate Blanchett, Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman are household names in China.
Australia's talented visual effects companies have worked on some of the world's biggest and most high-profile movies including The LEGO Movie, Black Panther, and The Avengers.
Australia and China signed a Film Co-Production Agreement in 2007, ever since then a collection of high quality co-production movies were produced and hit the box, such as Whistle Blower, 7 Guardians of the Tomb, The Longest Shot, etc. The Australian Embassy, Ausfilm and Screen Australia organise an annual Australia-China Film Industry Forum.
The Australia Council for the Arts provides government funding to artists and arts organisations and Screen Australia supports Australia's film industry:
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) International Relations Grants Program (IRGP) supports the Australian Government's foreign policies and economic diplomacy interests and projects a positive contemporary image of Australia. IRGP grants support professional, community and institutional linkages between Australia and its partners on contemporary issues of shared interest including business, education, innovation, science, technology, the arts, media and sport:
- National Foundation for Australia-China Relations (formerly Australia-China Council)
- Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program
The Public Affairs & Culture Section at the Australian Embassy delivers cultural and economic diplomacy programs in China that highlight Australia’s creative excellence and showcase Australia as an open, innovative and inclusive society.
We also promote the strengthening and broadening of networks and partnerships between Australia and China in arts, culture and creative industries.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +86 10 5140 4111
Fax: +86 10 5140 4204