PROJECTS

HISTORY PROJECTS

OPEN MONUMENT

MODERNITY'S END: HALF THE SKY

SCHINDLER

1866 THE WORLDS OF LOWE KONG MENG AND JONG AH SIUG

THE MACAU DAYS

THE NEW WOLF OF ROME

SAFETY ZONE

BONHOEFFER IN HARLEM

1967DISPERSION

OPEN WORLD

ABSTRACT PAINTINGS

SURVEY EXHIBITIONS

PAINTING SERIES

DOUBLE GROUND PAINTINGS

EARLY WORKS

1866 THE WORLDS OF LOWE KONG MENG AND JONG AH SIUG

Works 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  


'The Worlds of Lowe Kong Meng and Jong Ah Siug', 2015 by John Young

'The Worlds of Lowe Kong Meng and Jong Ah Siug', Summer 2015

Installation of 49 works on paper
(digital prints on photographic paper and chalk on blackboard-painted archival cotton paper) plus two single thread hand-sewn embroideries

Arc One Gallery Melbourne, installation view




1866 THE WORLDS OF LOWE KONG MENG AND JONG AH SIUG
Arc One Gallery, Melbourne 11 March - 11 April 2015

In the mid 1800's, two young men of ethnic Chinese origins arrived in the colony of Victoria. Lowe Kong Meng was an educated merchant traveller from Penang, Malaysia. At 22 years of age, he arrived with his fleet of trading ships, worldly and speaking four languages. Jong Ah Siug, a simple illiterate miner, aged 18, landed after an arduous boat journey from Zhongshan, Southern China.

Having both arrived to seek their fortunes during the gold rush, by 1866 their destinies radically forked - Lowe Kong Meng rose to become an influential merchant, philanthropist and political activist, as well as a member of the colony's powerful elite. Whilst Jong Ah Siug, after recovering from an altercation was condemned to 33 years of incarceration in lunatic asylums until his death in 1900. The only thing left today of his life is a small hand written diary, no bigger than one’s palm, that tried to prove his sanity and innocence.

The imaginary proximity of these two individuals in this exhibition by John Young is accompanied by music composed by Theodore Wohng “Although their journeys were the polar opposite from one another, within every form of eminence there is tragedy, and within every life of tragedy there is an element of transcendence. As archetypal characters of their day, and new settlers in a distant land, perhaps they did walk the same path at various instances of time via their ambition and imagination, and certainly in death.”

This exhibition is dedicated to these two men whose lives bookend the Chinese diaspora experience of 19th Century Australia.