May 4, 2012 — The University of Virginia's Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection will open a new exhibition May 18 of contemporary Aboriginal art, titled "People of Substance," by Jason Wing. The exhibition runs through Aug. 26. An opening reception will be held May 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Wing will give an artist's talk on May 17 at 7 p.m. In addition to discussing the pieces in the exhibition, Wing will give an overview of previous installations, paintings, murals and artist residency projects, which tackle issues from bi-cultural identity to the universality of substance abuse.
"People of Substance" explores the idea that drug and alcohol abuse among Aboriginal people is a by-product of colonization, and addresses the fact that this is often overlooked by mainstream Australia. Rather than reinforce negative stereotypes, Wing aims to openly address addiction in both Aboriginal Australia and the wider community. The exhibition will include a variety of site-specific installations by the artist, including "Blacktown Dreaming," a bed composed of hypodermic syringes.
Wing is a Sydney-based artist of Cantonese Chinese and Biripi Aboriginal heritage. He holds a bachelor of fine arts from Sydney College of the Arts and a bachelor of graphic arts from Sydney Graphics College.
His work has been included in a variety of solo and group exhibitions across Australia. Wing was an artist-in-residence at Australia's OzAsia Festival in 2010 and has completed an artist residency in the ancient village of Xucun, China, and in eastern Tibet, as part of the Eastern Tibet Training Institute program.
Earlier this year, Wing launched a major public art commission, titled "In Between Two Worlds," for the city of Sydney, which engulfs a 200-meter lane in the heart of the Chinatown precinct. Later this year, Wing will participate in a seminar presented at New York University by the International Network for Diasporic Asian Art Research on the future of Asian art.
In addition to his ongoing art practice, he is an art therapist for people with physical and mental disabilities.
For information, visit the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection website or call 434-244-0234.