Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate and the Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China, Dr Zhao Yongchen, Griffith staff, students and alumni were among more than 100 guests at the launch of the China in My Eyes exhibition at the Gold Coast campus on Tuesday.
The exhibition features a diverse range of photographs taken by Professor Colin Mackerras’s AO DUniv, over 50 years of living and working in China.
Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor said the exhibition was a powerful, visual reminder of Colin’s role as a pioneer in the Sino-Australia relationship.
“This modern-day Marco Polo first developed a strong feeling and sympathy for the Chinese people when he was appointed to teach at the Beijing Institute of Foreign Languages in 1964,” he said.
“In the planning for the establishment of Brisbane’s second university in the early 1970s, Griffith’s founders decided that a quarter of the initial courses at the university should be in Asian Studies. Colin was one of the first people approached to become Foundation Professor in Modern Asia Studies and he took up this position in 1974.
“For over five decades, Colin has provided outstanding leadership to generations of academic staff, an inspiration to legions of students and undertaken cutting-edge research – from the role of ethnicity in China to the evolving dynamics of the relationship between Australia and China.”
China in My Eyes reveals Professor Mackerras’s vision of disseminating knowledge about China and moving beyond stereotypes that portray China as an economic opportunity or security threat.
The exhibition is open at the White Box Gallery until 24 February.