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Zhong Chen regularly paints portraits although not self-portraits. Born in Zhongshan, China, in 1969, he arrived in Australia in 1989 at the age of 19. His early paintings explored his cultural heritage. Issues of cultural and trans-cultural identity, belonging and place continue to be themes in his work. Since completing a Master of Fine Arts at the Chelsea School of Art, London, in 1998 he has undertaken a further exploration of traditional Chinese art and regularly incorporates Chinese subject matter into his paintings.
This is Chen’s first time in the Archibald Prize although he had portraits in the Archibald Salon des Refusés in 2001 and 2003. He won the 2002 SBS Federation Art Award and was a finalist in last year’s Wynne Prize, the 2005 Mosman Art Prize and the 2004 Geelong Art Prize. He has had regular solo exhibitions since 1995 at galleries in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth as well as two shows in New York. In 2005 he did a three-month Australia Council residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York.