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Head On Photo Festival

5 – 27 May, 2018 Delmar Gallery


Head On Photo Festival

Olivia Martin-McGuire China Love Peng Xiangjie Cosplay (Second Dimension) Sheila Zhao The East Was Red


Olivia Martin-McGuire China Love

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This is a small selection from a long-term photo series I have been working on for the past two years in China. When I first arrived in Shanghai, I began noticing couples on every street being photographed in flamboyant wedding cosatumes. When I delved deeper, I discovered this was a curious window into understanding China. Just over 40 years ago, marriage in China was arranged by the state, by the army or by the parents. Couples were matched for the practicalities of social responsibility, for their families and ultimately for their country. Wedding photos consisted of one black and white passport photo of the couple, primarily as proof of the marriage. Now China’s rapidly increasing wedding industry has an annual revenue of $80 billion. Pre-wedding photography is one of the most 16 significant and curious parts of the

industry. Every couple marrying in China will take part in a pre-wedding shoot up to one year before the actual ceremony. The day involves several costume and backdrop changes, where you can become a character in an any fantasy you choose. In more exotic locations, couples will pay up to $250 000 for the shoot. It has become an important national ritual. It is still proof of the marriage as it was 40 years ago, but now it is also proof of the love, romance, freedom, money and the new China dream. What I became so excited by as I progressed with this project was the construction of a new memory for a nation through the power of photography. The series has been published in TIME Magazine and is part of a feature-length documentary opening at 2018 Sydney Film Festival. Olivia Martin-McGuire

Olivia Martin-McGuire is an Australian documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Shanghai. Her solo exhibitions in Australia and China have been held at the Australian Centre for Photography, Customs House, Brisbane Museum, Liangzhou Photo Festival and Photo Shanghai. She is a member of the Eyes on China project, a collective of photo and video journalists in China. She completed her tertiary studies at UNSW College of Fine Arts.


Beach, China Love 2017 digital print 121 x 84cm

Wedding day, China Love 2015 digital print 121 x 84cm

Thamestown, China Love 2015 digital print 121 x 84cm

Mass wedding, China Love 2015 digital print 121 x 84cm

Deer, China Love 2015 digital print 121 x 84cm

Guilin, China Love 2015 digital print 121 x 84cm

Red, China Love 2015 digital print 121 x 84cm

Pipe, China Love 2015 digital print 121 x 84cm

Queen, China Love 2015 digital print 121 x 84cm

Unicorn, China Love 2015 digital print 121 x 84cm

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Peng Xiangjie Cosplay (Second Dimension)

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Photographs from the series Cosplay (Second Dimension) were taken in various cities all around China (Xi’an, Chengdu, Chongqing, Luoyang, Jinan and Kunming) to document a widespread subcultural phenomenon: cosplay festivals. In these festivals, young generations come together in a physical space to perform their favourite fictional characters, often derived from online video games and manga. In this series of portraits of festival participants, Peng Xiangjie does not focus on the stories these young people have to narrate or the reasons behind the emergence of the festivals. Rather, he has sought to explore what he terms a “second dimension” – a space that hovers somewhere between the virtual and the real. Players act out a portion of the virtual space in the “real” dimension, replicating the idealized images they have built in their own 34 imagined space.

Continuing his work documenting people living at the fringes of contemporary Chinese society, Peng has also been interested in how the “second dimension” of cosplay festivals provides a safe space for queer and transgender communities. In a society that does not accept gender fluidity and diverse sexualities, cosplay offers space for these identities to be expressed and explored.

Peng Xiangjie has been working in photography since 1991. His work has been presented in prestigious festivals and galleries including; Pingyao International Photography Festival, Visa pour l’image: International Festival of Photojournalism, Monash Gallery of Art (MGA) - Victoria, and Three Shadows Photography Art Centre – Beijing. His work has been published in notable magazines such as Chinese Photography, Popular Photography, FOCUS, National Geographic, and Marie Claire.


Chongqing 2016 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chongqing 2016 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chengdu, Sichuan 2015 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chengdu, Sichuan 2014 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Xi’An, Shaanxi 2016 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Kumming, Yunnan 2012 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Xi’An, Shanxi 2016 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chongqing 2016 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

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Chengdu, Sichuan 2015 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chengdu, Sichuan 2015 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chongqing 2016 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chengdu, Sichuan 2015 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Luoyang, Henan 2015 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chongqing 2016 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chongqing 2015 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chongqing 2016 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10


Chengdu, Sichuan 2015 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chengdu, Sichuan 2016 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chengdu, Sichuan 2015 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

Chongqing 2016 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 45.5cm edition of 10

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Sheila Zhao The East Was Red

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During China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), the political agenda of the Communist party seeped into almost every aspect of the lives of ordinary Chinese citizens. So successful was the government’s endeavour that it profoundly influenced the country’s collective visual consciousness. When opportunities came for picture making, both photographer and subject deliberately included symbols of the political narrative as a way to show allegiance with the socio-political movement as well as reverence towards Mao Zedong - its charismatic leader’s god-like persona. Due to this pervasive trend, the images themselves also became a reflection and a vessel in the spreading of Cultural Revolution sentiments.

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In these photographs from the time, I have used red to digitally replace any original items in the images associated with propaganda. I hope to place focus on how propaganda has the power to alter a population’s collective mentality, as well as to change its visual language. Sheila Zhao

Sheila Zhao grew up in USA and completed her tertiary studies at Indiana University. She moved to China in 2005 and has since been based in Shanghai. Her work has been exhibited at festivals throughout Asia and has appeared in a variety of internet and print publications.


Untitled (The East Was Red) 2018 digital print 61 x 80cm

Untitled (The East Was Red) 2018 digital print 57 x 80cm

Untitled (The East Was Red) 2018 digital print 61 x 80cm

Untitled (The East Was Red) 2018 digital print 56 x 80cm

Untitled (The East Was Red) 2018 digital print 80 x 56cm

The East Was Red 2018 Site-specific mural, digital prints on wallpaper 187 x 5870cm

Untitled (The East Was Red) 2018 digital print 57 x 80cm

59 Untitled (The East Was Red) 2018 digital print 70 x 68cm


Published by Delmar Gallery, Sydney Olivia Martin-McGuire | China Love Peng Xianjie | Cosplay (Second Dimension) Sheila Zhao | The East Was Red 5 – 27 May, 2018 Presented by Delmar Gallery in collaboration with Head On Photo Festival Copyright remains with the artists and authors Unauthorised reproduction prohibited Exhibition installation photography by Silversalt Catalogue design by Yanni Florence DELMAR GALLERY Trinity Grammar School 144 Victoria St Ashfield NSW 2131 Australia trinity.nsw.edu.au/delmar-gallery delmargallery@trinity.nsw.edu.au Curator: Catherine Benz Gallery assistant: Chris Dolman

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Profile for Society of the Arts & Delmar Gallery

Head On Photo Festival 2018, Delmar Gallery  

Three concurrent solo exhibitions held at Delmar Gallery, Sydney, May 2018, as part of Head On Photo Festival: Olivia Martin McGuire - China...

Head On Photo Festival 2018, Delmar Gallery  

Three concurrent solo exhibitions held at Delmar Gallery, Sydney, May 2018, as part of Head On Photo Festival: Olivia Martin McGuire - China...

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