Trepang

China & the Story of Macassan - Aboriginal Trade

Past Event: 23 July 2011 to 16 October 2011

Portrait of John Bulunbulun, 2007
Portrait of John Bulunbulun, 2007
Acrylic and ochre on canvas
John Bulunbulun & Zhou Xiaoping

This exhibition tells the story of the ancient trade in sea cucumbers (trepang).

Trepang explores the long history of cultural exchange and trade between the Chinese, Macassan and northern Australian Aboriginal people.

Combining historical artefacts, paintings, maps and photographs with new works to tell the story of the Aboriginal and Asian contact around the trepang (sea cucumber) trade from the early 18th Century to the early 20th Century.

Trepang is founded on a 20-year friendship between classically-trained Chinese artist Zhou Xiaoping and highly respected Indigenous Australian artist John Bulunbulun.

Featuring contemporary works including cross-cultural collaborations of traditional Chinese and Australian designs.

Trepang forms part of The Year of Chinese Culture in Australia 2011 - 2012.


Proudly presented by Rio Tinto, the Gordon Darling Foundation, the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, The University of Melbourne, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and Museum Victoria.

Comments (4)

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Per 9 September, 2011 21:50
A beautiful, well designed, and important exhibition. Especially it is unique in the way it adds new evidence and ask new questions regarding Aboriginal history
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Caden 17 August, 2011 14:04
Just saw this exhibition. There is so much to learn from this exhibition, especially if you get a guided tour by one of the artists involved. Such a long history of trade between the northern Australian Aboriginals, the Maccassans and the Chinese. So much to learn. Go to see it if you haven't already!
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Jeffrey Bahari 3 August, 2011 17:12
The time for sea cucumbers has never passed! Go to any decent Chinese restaurant and order them in a hot-pot or soup -- they just rarely appear on the English language menu, because they're a bit unattractive and slimy. Believed to be aphrodisiac!
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Andrew Hibberd 29 July, 2011 23:17
maybe the time will come again where cucumbers of the sea become the new food
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