Between two worlds

Updated: 2014-07-22 08:07

By Xu Jingxi (China Daily)

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Between two worlds

Jason Wing (middle) with his Aboriginal and Chinese grandfathers.

Wing is from the Biripi Aboriginal mob from New South Wales on his mother's side, and has Cantonese heritage on his father's side. His grandmother on his father's side has Scottish heritage.

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But the Spanish and New Zealand national flags on the digital print are "pretended cultures", Wing says, and hint at the hardships Aboriginals experience as a minority group in their own country.

"Before 1967, Aboriginal people were classified as plants and animals by the Australian government. A lot of people lied about being Aboriginal because of the social pressure. It was very common for Aboriginal people to say they were Spanish or New Zealander," says Wing, whose Aboriginal grandfather told such lies to get a government job as a train driver.

"Even being a Chinese was looked down upon at that time. The situation has improved but there is still a long way to go."

Although his Cantonese grandfather wanted to raise him within the dominant culture of white Australia, Wing couldn't resist his curiosity about Chinese culture, fascinated by the scrolls of ink paintings and paper cuts that his grandfather bought in China as souvenirs.

Wing's Cantonese grandfather was born in Australia and only heard stories about traditional China from his parents and grandparents.

"I want to discover the traditional old parts of China by myself rather than just listening to stories," Wing says.

"I want to go to the countryside and the border of China to visit the minority groups. I want to see how they adapt to the rapid urbanization and at the same time keep their culture before it disappears.

"Economic development is spreading all over China so I need to see traditional minorities before it's too late."