Ochre and Ink tells a moving story of cross-cultural friendship and artistic collaboration with elements of humour, controversy, and tragedy. We see Zhou Xiaoping develop from an enthusiastic but naive young man into an engaging and passionate character who has established genuine friendships with many Aboriginal people.
Xiaoping’s art practice incorporates an inventive fusion of traditional Chinese techniques including painting with black ink on rice paper, designs on blue and white glazed porcelain, and watercolour landscapes. Combining a sensitive interpretation of Aboriginal subjects and culture with his great enthusiasm for collaboration with masterful Aboriginal artists, Xiaoping’s work breaks exciting new ground in the field of cross-cultural art, bringing together two ancient cultures in a fresh and quite profound way.
Ochre and Ink raises some rarely discussed themes around cross-cultural art practices, including issues of cultural appropriation and the role of sometimes paternalistic arts administration bureaucracies. In commenting on the story of the ‘Kangaroo Plate’ painting, Marcia Langton expresses her strong opinion that some ‘white advisors’ are ‘a new form of patrol officer’. The other side of the argument is not presented, but it is hoped that Marcia’s comments will provoke thought and discussion around this thorny issue.
Ochre and Ink is an inspiring story of artistic endeavour that will promote greater appreciation of the power of art to foster cross-cultural understanding, particularly within Australia and China.
CAST & CREW
JAMES BRADLEY – Producer/Writer/Director
James Bradley has 30 years experience as a film editor with a reputation for telling powerful stories. He has a great passion for Indigenous peoples and cultures and has edited many award-winning Australian Indigenous projects. In 2007 James produced the comedic mockumentary ‘Destiny In Alice’ and recently produced and directed ‘Ochre and Ink’.
RACHEL CLEMENTS – Producer
Rachel Clements graduated from AFTRS in 2001 with a MA in Producing. Short drama films produced by Rachel have won many awards. From 2004 to 2009, Rachel worked at CAAMA, Australia’s largest Indigenous multimedia organisation and has produced 25 documentaries, 15 short dramas, and a children’s drama series. She is currently developing projects including dramas and documentaries.
MURRAY LUI – Cinematographer
Eric Murray Lui was born in the small community of Thursday Island in the Torres Strait and is now recognised as being the first Torres Strait Islander professional cinematographer. Murray has been DOP on feature films including Orange Love Story and The Finished People, and on many documentaries, including Footy: the La Perouse Way, and The Good Fight.
KAREN JOHNSON – Editor
Karen Johnson is a highly experienced drama and documentary editor, she has worked on over 50 productions and been nominated for two IF awards in recognition for her work on Ivan Sen’s Beneath Clouds and Rachel Perkin’s One Night The Moon. Recently, her body of work has included feature film Griff the Invisible and documentary The Long Goodbye, both released in 2011.
DAVID TRANTER – Sound Recordist
Based in Alice Springs, David Tranter is Australia’s leading Aboriginal sound recordist. With a career spanning more than 20 years, he has recorded sound all over Australia, in cities and the remotest areas, in New York, Paris and Beijing. He won an AFI Award and an Australian Screen Sound Award in 2009 for his work on Samson and Delilah, and was also nominated for an IF Award.
CAITLIN YEO – Screen Composer
Caitlin Yeo is a unique and versatile film composer. Since graduating from a Graduate Diploma of Screen Composition at AFTRS in 2003, Caitlin has scored 4 feature films, including All My Friends are Leaving Brisbane, Black and White and Sex and Jucy, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival to sell-out audiences. She has also scored 20 TV documentaries including My America, Footy Chicks and The Matilda Candidate, 2 documentary series, and many short films.
In 2007, Caitlin won an APRA-AGSC Screen Music Award (Best Music for a Documentary) for her highly original score for Bomb Harvest, about an Australian bomb disposal expert in Laos. Caitlin was nominated again in 2008 for the same award, for the documentary The Last Trimate, and for a third time in 2010 for her score for The Long Goodbye. In 2011, Caitlin won the APRA professional development award, which included a trip to Los Angeles to attend the ASCAP Film and TV Scoring Workshop to study scoring techniques with Hollywood composers.
Caitlin has a diverse musical background, having performed in rock bands, orchestras, gypsy bands and gamelan groups. She is an accomplished accordionist, flautist and pianist, and spent her time during her bachelor degree at Sydney University focusing on 20th century composition and ethnomusicology.
ZHOU XIAOPING – Artist
Zhou Xiaoping is a Chinese born and educated Melbourne-based artist. Since arriving in Australia in 1988, he has spent many years living in Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land and the Kimberley. In 1992 Xiaoping was employed as Artist In Residence at the Maningrida Community School in Arnhem Land. In 1996 his collaboration with the late Jimmy Pike resulted in the first exhibition of Aboriginal art work in China at Jiu Lu Mi Art Museum in Hefei. In January 1999 these two artists had another joint exhibition at the National Gallery of China, Beijing. In 2011 Xiaoping was the principal artist in the exhibition titled: “Trepang, China & the Story of Macassan – Aboriginal Trade” both at the Capital Museum in Beijing and the Melbourne Museum in Australia. This important exhibition includes both his own artwork and collaborative paintings with the late Aboriginal artist Johnny Bulunbulun. Since 1988 Xiaoping has had 36 solo exhibitions all over the world and published two books in China about his experiences living and working in Aboriginal communities. Xiaoping has received Government funding in support of his art projects, including grants from the Australia-China Council and Arts Victoria. He has also worked as Artist In Residence at the Bendigo Golden Dragon Museum and many schools.
JOHNNY BULUNBULUN – Artist
Johnny Bulunbulun (JBB) was born just after the Second World War near the Arafura Swamp of Central Arnhem Land. JBB was a senior member of the Ganalbingu group and one of the most important singers and ceremonial men in north-central Arnhem Land. Although from the Arafura Swamp he moved west to Gamedi outstation on the Blyth River when he married Nelly [deceased], the sister of painter Jack Wununwun [deceased]. A steady though not prolific painter he began to make his mark in the late 1970’s when the Aboriginal art market expanded and the Art & Craft Centre artists cooperative at Maningrida began to be noticed. In 1981 his importance was recognised by a one artist show at the Hogarth Gallery in Sydney. In 1986 he attended the South Pacific Arts Festival in Tahiti. His major composition was often the totem of Gumang, the magpie goose and Guwaynang, the long necked turtle focused around a central sacred waterhole. The Guwaynang is an important creature in Ganalbingu cosmology and was Bulunbulun’s personal totem. JBB passed away in May 2010.