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Update from Sonia Payes at ACAF residency in Beijing

Saturday 17/11/12

Since early October, Australian artist, Sonia Payes, has been immersing herself in the cultural life of the Qiao Zi Art Commune in Beijing.  Sonia has been attending openings in Beijing, visiting artists’ studios, exploring the countryside and indulging in some adventurous meals. We understand that she has also been working hard and we look forward to seeing the body of work inspired by her residency experience in China.


"I’m living in a world different from anything that I have ever experienced before. Shen Shaomin’s studio stands tall; miles away from central Beijing, from freeways and from pollution. I often go on daily walks and witness endless contrasts between nature and industrialization. On one side there are cornfields, farmers, mountains, animals then across the same road there would be quarries, cranes, buildings sites, trucks or trains.

From dusk to dawn the farmers heads are visible in the cornfields whilst the building sites seem to disappear behind the wall of concrete dust and piles of bricks.

Some days I just sit on the studio deck, warming up as the afternoon sun penetrates my four layers of clothing, I take in all the sunlight I can get, as the days are short and the nights are cold.

Or some days I wake up and feel as if I am on a different planet. Farmers burn the cornhusks, turning the sky eerily opaque as the red sun shines through the smog like a warning sign. When these days come, I sift through my images on the computer gingerly in a dark room only to find light for my next exhibition." - Sonia Payes


This inaugural two month Australia China Art Foundation Residency is housed in the newly-renovated studios of Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin. In the future, the Foundation will provide residencies for up to six Australian and six Chinese artists per year at the artistic communities of Qiao Zi, Xucun and Chengdu and will also organise an exhibition of works by the ACAF Residency Alumni. There are also plans for a reciprocal Australian residency program for Chinese artists and curators.

For further information on how you can support the various Australia China Art Foundation Residency Programs,
please contact the Foundation on +61 3 9521 1929 or email

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