Yellow Peril explores the impact of mining and immigration on the Australian identity. Ron Robertson-Swann’s infamous Vault (1980), and an archival snapshot of the artist’s parents in front of Swann’s sculpture, are the entwined starting points for Lim’s performative and playful work. Yellow Peril (2015) comprises video, prints and sculpture—the work is reimagined here through photographic images and text across three large-scale billboards sited on and around Gold Leaf restaurant. The work spans timescales within the recent settler-colonial history of Australia: an image of Lim’s parents as hopeful ‘new Australians’ sits in dialogue with a panoramic photo of Lim as a gold Mao-suited ‘Ambassador’ sent back in time to the goldfields of the 1850s (photographed at the end of 2020 in Sovereign Hill), holding a large replica gold nugget based on the ‘Welcome Stranger’, the world’s largest alluvial nugget (found in 1869 in Moliagul, Victoria). Inspired by the observational comedy of Jacques Tati’s Playtime, and Lim’s research into Chinese migration, diaspora and the White Australia Policy, Yellow Peril considers the evolving dynamics between Australia and China and the interconnected nature of our socio-economic future; and unearths lesser-known but existent personal and political histories of Australia.
Format: Public Art Commission
Materials: Printed Vinyl Banners
Venues: In and around Gold Leaf Restaurant, High Street Preston, Victoria, Australia.
Supporters: Commissioned by Darebin City Council
Photos: Install Documentation by Tim Hillier