Asian artists finding their voice
Saturday July 29, 2006By Lynn Chen
Comic writer Ant Sang is working to cook up a new Chinese dish for New Zealand - a kung-fu saga set in ancient China.
The Chinese New Zealander and designer of characters and backgrounds for hit television show Bro'Town is best known for his serialised comic The Dharma Punks, and has been adding Chinese faces in his works.
"I made the comic character the way I look," said Sang, 35.
He is part of a new wave of New Zealand Chinese artists.
New Zealand's best known literary magazine, Landfall, now has a New Zealand Chinese editor, and art galleries such as the Adam in Wellington and Te Tuhi in Pakuranga are exhibiting a wave of young Chinese talent.
Asian creative voices will feature in a forthcoming conference on the evolving identities of so-called "bananas" - New Zealand born-Chinese, yellow on the outside and white on the inside.
The "Going Bananas" conference in August will highlight the Kiwi Chinese creative voices, including film-makers, architects, visual designers and musicians, says the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Chinese Association.
"Asia's young and creative people are changing the way Auckland looks," said Alistair Kwun, spokesman for the event. "We address them and see how different communities can work together for the well-being of New Zealand."
Tze Ming Mok, novel writer and the first Chinese editor of Landfall, said: "In terms of cultural creative voices of Chinese and Asians in New Zealand - and particularly Auckland - I do believe we are present in greater numbers in the sector than ever before.
"What is interesting about these Asians entering the creative industries, is that this is an avenue for an expression of a contemporary face of Asia and international urban influences that most New Zealanders have previously not associated with Asian artists or Asian people in New Zealand."
Sang said that although Chinese or Asian art was still developing it would become more noticeable and enter the Kiwi mainstream.
This year's event is expected to attract more non-Chinese to the audience, who are developing increasing interest in the Chinese communities. Last year, nearly 250 people attended the Banana conference.
* Going Bananas: August 12 at AUT, Auckland.
Going Bananas http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=147&objectid=10393508