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Australia's Indigenous People To Be Showcased In Guangzhou, China

Travel News Asia 12 November 2002

China Southern Airlines (NYSE: ZNH) (HKSE: 1055), the largest airline in The People's Republic of China will be one of the leading corporate sponsors of a major International exhibition on the past and present identities of Australia's indigenous people.

The exhibition is presented by the new National Museum of Australia - located in Canberra - in collaboration with The Guangzhou Museum of Art and will the 30th Anniversary of friendly relations between China and Australia.

The visiting Australia exhibition is slated to open in Guangzhou on December 6.

"The National Museum exhibition captures the essence of indigenous Australian culture," said Mr. Li Zhouqi, Acting Director-General of The Guangzhou Museum of Art. "Chinese people are very interested in their own minority cultures, for instance in Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang. So indigenous cultures from far away are very interesting to us."

China has long sought a groundbreaking exhibition about the past and present lives of indigenous Australians; an exhibition now backed with substantial Chinese sponsorship and donations. Entitled Past & Present, the exhibition will focus on the rich cultures of the Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal peoples of Australia - the oldest surviving race in the world.

The China Hotel by Marriott - a partner in China Southern's Sky Pearl Club frequent flyer program - is another major corporate sponsor of this presentation.

The exhibition profiles nine diverse indigenous communities around Australia, their lives and beliefs, their distinctive stories and arts. Significant themes include the power of country and the message of ceremonies, the mortuary ceremonies and Dreaming Ancestors, the displacement from land, the evolution of modern art and craft centers and the urban contemporary experience.

"Companies such as China Southern, show how such support can make an important cultural exchange and exhibition like this into a reality, and allow business a role in the celebration of our now extensive relationship with China," said Ms. Dawn Casey, National Museum Director. She added that, "this support is allowing us to exchange cultural and conservation skills with China and bring with the exhibition a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and performers and a high level of multimedia."

Guangzhou is the leading cultural and industrial metropolis of Southern China and is the only city in China to host this visiting exhibition.

The exhibition will invite the Aboriginal artists to Guangzhou to present their culture and art to the people of Guangzhou. Many communities across Australia share the story of the Rainbow Serpent, which tells how the Australian land and culture were created and continued.

Australia covers most of Oceania's landmass, so its profound Aboriginal culture is representative of indigenous tribal culture. There exist some 250 tribal groups in Australia and the exhibition will introduce only nine diverse communities, their lives and beliefs, their distinctive stories and art. The nine distinctive arts of nine tribal groups will amaze visitors.

Elements of the exhibition include:

- The Significance of Country which explores the Ngarrindjeri people of south-eastern Australia their weaving art and the nostalgic paintings of the aboriginal artist whose vision will be contrasted with the perspective on the same country captured by the European colonial artist;

- The Power of the Sea shows the integrity of dance, music and oral traditions to the Saibai people of the Torres Strait Islands;

- Displaced From Their Land and Disruption of Culture tell the story of how the Aboriginal people were displaced from their land, which helped to retain the purity of their culture and made the combination of traditional and modern culture possible when cities rejuvenated.

Additional elements of the exhibition include "the message of ceremonies", "their Dreaming Ancestors", "modern art and craft center", "the significance of mortuary" and "international traders" display the distinctive cultures of diverse tribal groups from different perspectives.

This special collaboration with Australia to host this Aboriginal cultural exhibition is an obvious reflection of the acceptance of China's civic community and its exploration of other rich and diverse cultures.

The largest airline in The People's Republic of China for the past 23 years, China Southern Airlines connects more than 80 cities around the globe. Major business and vacation destinations served in China include: Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hong Kong, Kunming, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan and as well as international service, including: Amsterdam, Bangkok, Fukuoka, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Moscow, Osaka, Penang, Phnom Penh, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.

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