/ Sunday Arts Magazine / Art Exhibition / Mark Chu talks about his show at the No Vacancy Gallery


Lunar New Year is one of the most special events on the calendar, because it shows that something as fixed as the start of the year can be interpreted differently by different cultures. The fact that it’s celebrated across the world tells us how far we’ve come as a multicultural global community, and I think that’s wonderful,” says Mark.

The Chinese community has been a strong part of Melbourne’s cultural fabric for over 160 years, making the Lunar New Year particularly significant to Melbourne, while other Asian cultures from Vietnamese to Korean also celebrate the new lunar year.

At 50m2, Mark’s Lunar New Year mural is one of his biggest works to date, towering over passers-by in Jane Bell Lane, just off Russell St. The Giving Ox depicts an Ox leaping up in a moment of blissful joy, signifying the massive strength the zodiac year is known for. It is also interactive, with an AR animation bringing the mural to life with a burst of generosity, symbols and LNY celebrations. Shoppers can also find their personalised 2021 Chinese Zodiac predictions linked to a QR Code.

Just down the laneway at resident gallery No Vacancy, Mark Chu will exhibit 50 paintings in a major new show entitled, The Ecstasy of People Watching, opening 25 February, until 28 February. His works ask, how do we gaze differently in this paradoxical time of social distancing and hyper-interconnectivity?

As a part of the Lunar New Year experience, Chu has created his first sculptural work, a bronze cast of an ox tail coated in 24-carat gold, called a Giving Charm. This valuable work will be priced at zero dollars; however its acquirer will receive instructions from the artist to embrace a life of generosity as fully as possible, and pass it on to a new acquirer when they no longer need to engage with the piece.


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