Brothers Barney and Ted Dion in 1920s Chevrolet wooden-bodied bus receive help crossing the Cann River December 1932 .
Family history, archival materials, and contemporary art come together in a new exhibition at Wollongong Art Gallery presented in partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Art.
On the Move centres on the story of the Dion family, who have lived, worked, and played a key role in the development of the broader Wollongong community for more than a century. The Dion family’s first arrival in Australia is part of a larger narrative of mass Chinese migration driven by the prospect of gold in the late 1800s. While their presence in Australia was undoubtedly marred by discrimination and hardships faced as new migrants, the Dion family’s commitment to their local community is a story of resilience and survival. Today, the Dion bus service continues to operate in Wollongong and surrounding areas.
Recognising the importance of this family’s contributions to the region as well as changing ideas of migrant identity, On the Move invited Asian-Australian artists Matt Chun, Pia Johnson and Naomi Segal to engage with this history.
Working across mediums including photography, drawing and printmaking, Chun, Johnson and Segal have created new works that bring the story of the Dion family to contemporary audiences, and respond to the ongoing dialogue of Australia’s national identity.