Ararat is the only colonial town in Australia to have been founded by Chinese immigrants; Chinese miners established Ararat in the 1850s. Today, this is one of the first things you read when Googling the town, although this history wasn’t always so visible. Through a month-long residency in Ararat, Zhou formed personal connections to place and sought to understand contemporary relationships to the past. This research has informed her solo exhibition Drawing Dashes Between Dots.
The artist utilised public archives including those from the Gum San Chinese Heritage Centre and Ararat Regional Library, as well as the personal archives, memories and stories held by community members, such as the passionate community group, the Friends of Gum San. Zhou has extracted multiple narratives and perspectives from a fragmented and discontinuous representation of history. Humanising facts and figures, these take us from the 1800s to today. Through a mixed-media installation, the artist maps out the entanglements between past and present and the way such snares can influence personal identity.