Australia-China Council

Speech to launch of the Chinese edition of the Artlink Magazine 13th Australian Studies Conference

The Hon Warwick Smith AM, Chair, Australia-China Council, E&OE

Xihua University, Chengdu, China

7 July 2012

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to launch the Chinese edition of Australia's leading contemporary art magazine - Artlink here in Chengdu at the 13th Australian Studies Conference.

I would like to congratulate Artlink team for your commitment to the promotion of contemporary Australian and especially indigenous art in China.

I am confident that your decision to tell the story of Australian Indigenous art to Chinese audiences in their own language is visionary and will open new opportunities for Australian artists in the country which is experiencing a renewed interest in global contemporary art.

I am especially grateful for your decision to launch the magazine here at the Australian Studies Conference.

I hope that it is a reflection of the enhanced profile of this event as an emerging premier space for cultural exchanges between Australia and China.

The increasing presence at the conference of Australian and Chinese art communities is an indication of the growing intensity of art and cultural interactions between Australia and China. These interactions will undoubtedly lead to long-term relationships and increased flow of ideas and talent between our two countries.

The Australia-China Council which I chair is proud to be a key supporter of Australia-China engagement in arts and culture.

We have been providing consistent support to the Australian arts community to enter and engage with China. More than a third of annual grants awarded by the Australia-China Council over the last 10 years are for arts and cultural projects with China.

We see it as a strategic investment in the often overlooked area of Australia-China relations.

We know that this investment will add a significant value to the quality, scope and diversity of Australia's relations with China.

This is why just last year the Council supported the largest exhibition of indigenous art ever to tour China - Warburton Collection. I believe Artlink had an extensive coverage of this highly successful tour.

We also supported one of Australia's most promising young indigenous artists Jason Wing on his historic residency in Tibet - the first by an Australian artist.

In 2012-2013 the Council will sponsor a diverse range of cultural programs that bring Australian and Chinese art, artists and audiences closer to each other.

These programs range from the Council's active involvement in the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane to supporting the Australian Ballet in bringing a new generation of Chinese dancers to Sydney to celebrate the Ballet's 50th Anniversary.

We see an enormous potential for growing our cultural linkages with China.

And the more players (be they media, artistic, government or business organisation) enter the Australia-China cultural interaction sphere, the more diverse and sustainable these linkages will become.

I congratulate the Artlink magazine on its successful entrance to China.