art forum VISTING ARTIST: Professor A GUUT ZZA MOT

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

Evolutionary Shifts in Yi Ethnic Minority Painting, in South West China

Outside of Yi cultural circles, the origins of Yi ethnic minority people in South West China is largely still unknown. Nonetheless, Yi people are believed to have originated from Zhaotong in present day Yunnan Province, migrating to Liangshan in Southern Sichuan over 2200 years ago. During this historical migratory period the Yi ritual priests ‘the Bimox’ left behind exceptional etchings, rock paintings, spirit depictions and ghost boards. These artistic expressions are the key to understanding the origin, migratory patterns, culture and spirit of Yi people in South West China. Contemporary Yi art today still contains these fundamental patterns and artistic depictions, present not only in paintings, but architecture, instrument and costume.

This lecture will firstly travel back in time to Zhaotong, examining the first etchings of Bimox culture and it migratory artistic patterns, moving on to a discussion of the Bimox spirit pictures and ghost boards, finally progressing to an exhibition of contemporary Yi painting which is now forming an imperative part of Chinas extensive ethnic minority cultural heritage and pride.

Professor A GUUT ZZA MOT is of Yi heritage. He was born in 1955 in a traditional Yi mountain village in Liangshan Autonomous Prefecture, South Sichuan Province, China. Experiencing the bitterness of struggle and poverty from an early age he learnt to channel his creative energy through the medium of art. In 1979 Prof A Guutt Zza Mot was accepted to Art School in Chongqing’s Xinan University where he graduated successfully, and began a career in teaching in the field of contemporary Yi art and culture. In recent years Professor A Guut Zza Mot has been hailed as the father of Contemporary Yi painting with exhibits both in Mainland China and Hong Kong. He is currently the director and senior researcher of the Liangshan Yi Municipal Art Studio, in Liangshan Autonomous region, Southern Sichuan Province.

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This lecture will be delivered in Chinese with English translation