(b Beijing, May 7, 1960).
Chinese multimedia artist, active in Australia. Self-taught as an artist, Ah Xian spent his early years in the relatively privileged environment of Beijing’s Science and Engineering University, where his parents worked. He trained as a mechanical fitter and worked in a factory, pursuing art in his own time. In the late 1970s he began to associate with avant-garde poets, writers, and artists including members of The Stars, a non-official art group demanding freedom of artistic expression. Because his experimental works of art, sometimes incorporating images of naked figures, were considered at the time to be unacceptable, he was subject to routine surveillance by the Public Security Bureau.
Ah Xian first traveled to Australia in 1989 as a visiting artist at the Tasmanian School of Art. He returned the following year and in 1995 was granted permanent residency in Australia. In 1991 he created Heavy Wounds, a series of paintings based on imagery from first aid posters that deal with injury and triage, an expression of trauma associated with the violent suppression of democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere on ...