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Generously gifted to the Gallery by the artist and donors, this important suite of paintings by Ah Xian draws on iconography from the socialist realist first aid posters of China's Cultural Revolution (1966–76) to convey experiences of trauma and healing. Among the earliest works created by Ah Xian after he migrated to Australia, 'Heavy Wounds' expresses his feelings of isolation and trauma, particularly following the June 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.
'Heavy Wounds' constitutes a point between key stages in Ah Xian's career, leading to a broad interest in the cultural traditions of his Chinese heritage, as expressed in his signature sculptural busts created from porcelain, lacquer, cloisonné and bronze.