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Banner Galleries: Dongwang Fan - Empyrean Dragons

George St
Sydney NSW 2000

Every day, all day Saturday 10 February to Saturday 24 February



Empyrean Dragons depicts a creature of myth and legend, a symbol of good fortune, strength, and health.

The Dragon is described as having the body of a snake, face of a horse, antlers of a deer, claws of an eagle, beard of a goat and scales of a fish. It is a divine beast that delivers prosperity. The dragon holds a pearl of wisdom, navigating in the different terrains of air, water, fire and earth. It is a powerful cultural symbol of many Asian communities during the lunar new year of dragon that celebrates its characteristics of innovativeness, enterprise, flexibility, self-assurance, bravery, passion and connects the people both to their past as well as to their future advancements.

The design is a hybrid of traditional and contemporary art that represents this unique cultural identity in today’s Australian communities. By cropping the dragon’s body and focusing on its head and partial body, the artist has adopted a Western postmodern form of fragmentation to make image appears concentrated and striking. The unique “sculptural painting” style mixes traditional Chinese three dimensional carving techniques and blended it with Western pop art colour palettes, thereby combining these two schools of art via the iconography of the Dragon. Its colour is unambiguously Australian that is vibrant and strong. It’s a contemporary interpretation that sets this work apart from the traditional design, whilst retaining its accessibility and popular appeal given its roots in the traditional images expressed though a new visual language.

About the artist:

Chinese Australian artist Dr Fan Dongwang studied traditional Chinese art in China and became an established Shanghai artist and migrated to Australia as an artist of ‘Distinguished Talent’ in the 90’s. He studied Master of Arts at NSW University and received Post Graduate Award and completed Doctor of Creative Art at Wollongong University. He was a guest lecturer at ANU, Wollongong University and Curtin University. His painting was shown in exhibitions at National Gallery of Australia, many regional art galleries and university art galleries throughout Australia. He was the winner of Mosman Art Prize, Festival of Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, Liverpool City Art Prize; Willoughby City Art Prize; Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant, Art on The Rocks Prize and Burwood Art Prize. He was the finalist at the Wynne and Sulman Prizes at the AGNSW and finalist at Moran prize. Currently lives and works in Sydney.

Fan’s dragon paintings were first created for Australia national traveling exhibition Shanghai Star organized by Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and exhibited at 10 regional art galleries in 2001. He continued to paint this traditional icon and became well known artist for painting large canvas of big, powerful, cropped and contemporary images of the dragon in Australia. Fan was selected to design a large scale Dragon Lantern Installation at Dawes Point and Circular Quay that was part of Sydney City Council Lunar New Year Lantern Exhibition from 2016 to 2017 and was featured in Germen, British and China TV showing his works of dragon.

Contact event organiser

City of Sydney


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