Damien Shen, Heaven and Hell, 2020. Etched tintype, tintype image made from charcoal drawing, 13 x 10cm.
“All too many contemporary Australian artists have become besotted with identity politics in recent decades and all too often it is politics, over aesthetics, that sadly prevail. That, thankfully is not the case when it comes to Damien Shen’s work. But then again Shen is an unusual case in more ways than one. Born from the rich combined heritage of mainland China and the Ngarrindjeri peoples of South Australia, Shen has adopted traditional imagery and documentary exploration to create works that simultaneously embrace traditional drawing alongside photography and installation.”
“I do get angry at the fact that Indigenous and Asian voices rarely get heard and here we have an artist saying it eloquently, beautifully and vitally for this country. Curators and institutions have responded, but collectors are lagging behind. I feel it is my mission to get it out there in front of people. When they see Damien’s work, and understand the voice behind it, they understand how vital it is.”