- Place where the work was made
- Media category
- Materials used
- screenprint on mylar emergency blanket
- 210.0 x 160.0 cm
- Purchased with funds provided by the Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2021
- Not on display
- Accession number
- © Eugenia Lim
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Eugenia Lim’s work often draws on her cultural heritage. As a second-generation Australian, her parents migrated here from Singapore during the White Australia Policy. Lim grew up between two cultures and the associated feeling of in-betweenness fuels her work. In her series Yellow Peril, from which New Australians (welcome stranger 1969/2015) derives, Lim examines her own parents’ migration to Australia through the lens of the first wave of Chinese migrants seeking to make their fortunes in the Australian gold fields during the gold rush of 1851–93. For this body of work, Lim appears in character as ‘the Ambassador’, a fictive persona, dressed in a gold lamé Mao suit. The Ambassador playfully navigates the Sovereign Hill theme park, an open air museum that reimagines Ballarat in the 1850s and in exploring the park uncovers the Australian-Asian narrative of the gold rush, drilling down into racial politics. Lim has transformed herself into the Ambassador across three separate bodies of work. Each time, the character traverses time and culture to explore national identities and stereotypes in our globalised world.
In New Australians (welcome stranger 1969/2015), we find the Ambassador posed as if in a nineteenth-century studio photographic portrait, holding a replica of the huge 72kg ‘Welcome stranger’ gold nugget that was discovered in Victorian gold fields in 1869. The image has been printed on an unfolded gold emergency blanket, a tongue in cheek reference to the gold at the centre of the story. By drawing allusion to this all too often overlooked element of Australia’s goldmining mythology, Lim evokes the fraught historical, political, economic and social dynamic between Australia and China while attending to the whitewashing of our history.
Where the work was made