Chinese Australian artist Fan Dongwang's Dragon paintings depict this very important icon of Chinese culture often seen in jade and ivory carvings. Fan Dongwang views these traditional images as not only beautiful, but also as powerful symbols of nationhood. It is through these symbols that the past continues to have a bearing on the present as well as the future. The dragon often evokes different and ambiguous meanings among many cultures. In China it represents the emperor’s unchallenged power and authority, while in the West it is often viewed as representative of evil spirits. The dragon represents the emerging Chinese cultural identity, expresses the artist's feelings towards contemporary China and the current revival of its culture. This work enables Fan Dongwang to develop a constantly shifting perspective of the east and west that gives him the ability to develop a unique visual language reflecting his ambivalence towards his identity.
This canvas series of large, bright, Chinese symbols – like the carnavalesque Chinese Dragon – is suggestive of post-pop in its boldness and post-modernism in its fragmentation, whilst connoting traditional Chinese low relief minature carvings in its subject matter and three-dimensional impact. This sculptural effect is in fact a trademark throughout the paintings. “It’s my visual language, it’s like carving. When I do a painting I use a brush thinking of it as a knife carving the surface, to bring it up or deep down so it has a three dimensional illusion.” Fan Dongwang
All paintings are acrylic on canvas.