Zhong Chen was a finalist in the 2007 Archibald Prize with a self-portrait and again in 2008 with a portrait of Archibald-winning artist Nicholas Harding.
‘My recent painting, Self-portrait on a horse, reflects my cultural identity as a Chinese–Australian artist,’ says Chen. ‘The painting is influenced by traditional Chinese folk art prints and traditional Chinese ink brush painting. It is also inspired by folk papercuts and Ming and Qing porcelains. The painting reflects my fluid, transcultural identity. It depicts symbols of peace and happiness and relates to one of the 12 symbols of the Chinese zodiac – the horse. There is a peacefulness reflected in the work, which relates to seeking one’s own cultural heritage and enjoying the many elements within one’s cultural identity. The self-portrait portrays my cultural journey. Being on a horse represents being able to conquer many hurdles and seek many adventures with the help of the luck of the Chinese zodiac. The horse also relates to imagery inspired by the Banjo Paterson poem, The man from Snowy River.’