UNSW Library Alumni mural commission: Louise Zhang

UNSW Alumni mural commission: Louise Zhang

04/12/2019 - 12:00pm

Date: December 2020 - December 2021

Louise Zhang’s Waves of chrysanthemums is the first of the Library’s UNSW Alumni mural commission series. Created by Chinese-Australian artist Zhang, this public mural is located in the lift foyer of Level 2, UNSW Library. This commissioning series will see the Library lift foyers transformed by new site-specific artworks by UNSW graduates.

Waves of chrysanthemums is rich in Chinese and Western symbolism; larger-than-life chrysanthemums overlay a fantastical imagined landscape of rising suns and raining liquid forms in rich and seductive colours. Many of these symbols are found throughout Zhang’s work and embody a duality of meaning, such as the rising red sun. Zhang first saw a red sun rising in the sky while visiting family in China in 2016, describing it as “apocalyptic… but in China, it is seen as beautiful and sublime.”

Drawing from her experience as a “third culture kid” Zhang reconciles her Chinese and Western identities through an interplay of colour, form and scale, asking us as viewers to question what we ‘see’ and how this is informed by our lived experiences, family background, education, friends and beliefs.

Zhang was born in Sydney in 1991 and is a recent graduate of UNSW. In 2013, she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Honours (First Class), UNSW Art & Design (formerly College of Fine Arts) UNSW, later completing a Master of Fine Arts (Research) in 2016 at UNSW Art & Design. Zhang is an artist at the beginning of her career, she has exhibited widely and undertaken large scale projects with critical success, receiving the NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship in 2017, the Fisher's Ghost Art Award – Sculpture category, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney in 2015 and the Australian Postgraduate Award, UNSW in 2016.

This is the first commission of its kind and engages the lifts as gateways to knowledge, information and learning in the Library. This commission celebrates the diversity of the student population and reflects the innovation and excellence of UNSW graduates.

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