10:00pm – Tuesday, February 21 on ABC1
Ochre And Ink tells the extraordinary story of artist Zhou Xiaoping and his inspiring 23-year collaboration with Aboriginal artists in outback Australia. With elements of humour, controversy and tragedy, this film follows Xiaoping as he develops from an enthusiastic but naive young man into an engaging and passionate character who has established genuine friendships with many Aboriginal people.
Trained as a traditional Chinese brush painter in Anhui Province, Xiaoping arrived in Australia in 1988 knowing almost nothing about the country. On a whim, he travelled to the heart of the outback where he was surprised to see Aboriginal people for the first time. He became fascinated by their art and culture, and they welcomed him into their communities where the artists showed him their techniques of painting with ochre on bark.
Now Xiaoping is visiting the famous artist Johnny Bulunbulun and his family, working on paintings for a major exhibition to be held in Beijing, on the theme of the 300-year trade in trepang (sea cucumber) from the Aboriginal people of northern Australia via Macassan traders to China.
Johnny is keen to travel to China for the exhibition; but tragically, he dies before he can make the journey.
Instead, Johnny’s wife and son attend the exhibition opening at the imposing Capital Museum in Beijing and perform an emotional ceremony in his honour.