Scholar uses New Colombo Plan as blank canvas to explore identity

31 May 2018

New Colombo Plan China scholar Harrison See, from Edith Cowan University, has always been interested in exploring cultural identity through his work.

His 2016 scholarship to China gave him a unique opportunity to broaden his perspectives in this area.      

“A big part of the discussion around cultural identity focuses on differences and that shrinks the room for two cultural groups to connect,” Harrison said. “I am interested in looking for the similarities.”

As a student at the Science and Technology University of Shanghai, Harrison compared the work of an Italian artist living through the Renaissance and a Chinese artist working during the Ming Dynasty.

He then completed an unusual internship – an artist’s residency at the Chinese European Art Centre in Xiamen, where he held a solo exhibition of the works he had created during his time in China.

His solo exhibition featured paintings that were “neither inherently Chinese nor Western”.  The reaction was positive. “I create art for a social purpose … I hope that this [exhibition] encourages people to think about what unites different cultures,” he said.

Now back in Australia, Harrison is interested in pursuing an international arts career. He believes the New Colombo Plan will benefit scholars, as well as the broader Australian society.

“This kind of opportunity is immensely valuable for Australia, especially as scholars start entering the workforce, because they will push whatever sector they end-up working in to look outwards,” he said.

Last Updated: 31 May 2018
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Harrison See (2016), Valley of Air and Light, 175cm x 90cm, oil on canvas.
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Harrison See (2016), Valley of Stone and Water, 175cm x 90cm, oil on canvas.
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Harrison at Nanputuo Temple in Xiamen. Photo credit: Harrison See.