Defining Moments: Founding of Gallery 4A with Dr Mikala Tai

In this lecture, Dr Mikala Tai discusses the founding of Gallery 4A in Sydney and its inaugural exhibition in 1997 as part of ACCA’s lecture series Defining Moments: Australian Exhibition Histories 1968–1999.

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is an initiative of the Asian Australian Artists’ Association Inc. (4A), a non-profit organisation established in 1996 to present and promote the work of Asian and Asian-Australian artists. This organisation was established by a group of artists who sought to highlight the cultural contribution of Asian migration to Australia and to develop Asian and Australian cultural relations.

The Asian Australian Artists’ Association launched Gallery 4A in 1997 on Sussex Street in Sydney’s Chinatown. 4A launched with an exhibition featuring three Asian-Australian artists: Emil Goh, Lindy Lee and Hou Leong. Curated by Melissa Chiu, 4A’s first curator and director, the exhibition considered the breadth and depth of contemporary Asian- Australian practice.

Dr Mikala Tai is the Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, and a curator, researcher and academic specialising in contemporary Asian art and Australian design. Tai has collaborated with local, national and international organisations to strengthen ties between Australia and Asia. As an academic Tai has lectured at both RMIT and the University of Melbourne, and devised and delivered the inaugural Contemporary Asian Art syllabus at RMIT (2012 – ) and the first China Fieldwork Course (2015 – ) with Rebecca Coates and Kate McNeill at the University of Melbourne. Tai was the founder and director of Supergraph – Australia’s Contemporary Graphic Art Fair, which has been held twice at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne and exhibited at Somerset House, London (2015). Tai currently sits on the board of BUS Projects, Melbourne.