Homage to the Ancestors

(Art Gallery of NSW)

Thank you, and good afternoon, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

I would also like to acknowledge Her Excellency Marie Bashir, Governor of NSW, and Mr Zhang Tong [jee-ang tong], Vice-Governor of Hubei Province in China.

I hope many of you were able to enjoy our Chinese New Year Twilight Parade on Sunday evening. The local contingents from our Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean communities were joined by a spectacular troupe from Hubei whose stunning performance delighted the thousands of spectators.

It was a wonderful contribution to our festivities, which get bigger each year, and which always attract a wide cross-section of the Sydney community. I'd like to take this opportunity once again to thank the Hubei government and China's diplomatic representatives in Australia for their help in bringing such outstanding performers to Sydney.

The Twilight Parade is one of the most popular festivities of our Chinese New Year but this exhibition adds another layer to our celebrations.

Like the Entombed Warriors exhibition that is currently drawing huge crowds, it is eloquent testimony to the sophisticated culture that was flourishing in China more than 2000 years ago.

Since the mid-19th century, archaeology has brought us many marvels from ancient sites around the world, and these exquisite objects must rank among some of the finest.

The workmanship and artistry is of the highest order, whether applied to bronze vessels, musical instruments lacquer wares or other objects. That they come from just one region and one time period makes them all the more remarkable.

They sit harmoniously in this beautiful Asian gallery, and I would like to thank the Hubei Provincial Museum, from whose holdings they come, for such a generous loan. I know the people of Sydney will appreciate this outstanding exhibition.

Thank you.