There is a small art gallery in Sydney that regularly features the works of contemporary Chinese artists. It’s usually a collection of large-format photographs, paintings and sculptures that depict oppression, poverty and abject suffering; very much a neo-Cold War view of Communist China.
A handful of Chinese exchange students were brought to this gallery for a tour.
How would they react? I was intrigued. Because let’s be honest: apart from the transparent commercial opportunism, many white Australians remain generally and unapologetically suspicious of China.
This photo captures the moment a student realises how her country is perceived; a mixture of confusion, resignation and disappointment.
I didn’t need her to tell me there is much more to China than this, but I don’t doubt there are many in this country who could do with the lesson.
Australians are always quick to point out that a singular racist incident on a Sydney bus shouldn’t be perceived as representative of the entire country. If only they possessed the same clarity when regarding other countries.