The 10th anniversary program of Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival features an incredible selection of Southeast Asian arts and culture. With more than 20 events and just over 100 professional artists coming from South East Asia, this is one of the largest showcases of professional arts and culture from Southeast Asia ever undertaken by an annual performing arts festival in Australia. The scale and breadth of South East Asian focused programming has been realised thanks to support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australia-Indonesia Institute and Australia-ASEAN Council.
The Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) was established in 1989 to contribute to an enduring relationship between Australia and Indonesia and to project positive images of Australia and Indonesia in each other’s country. The Australia-ASEAN Council (AAC) was launched in 2015 to increase Australia’s engagement with South-East Asia by enhancing awareness, understanding, and links between people and institutions through showcasing contemporary Australian and South-East Asian creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Southeast Asian program highlights made possible by the support and partnership of AII and AAC are engaging, immersive works that bring cross-cultural connection to audiences.
Festival Director Joseph Mitchell says: “Support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australia-Indonesia Institute and Australia-ASEAN Council has enabled OzAsia Festival to place arts and culture from South East Asia at the forefront of our special 10 year anniversary program.”
As a result of the support received, we have been able to invite artists from South East Asia who have never been to Australia before. A particular interest for OzAsia Festival is to provide Australian audiences with deeper understanding of the diverse cultures across the region. With Indonesia for example, we have been able to invite artists from provinces such as Riau and Papua, allowing greater awareness and exchange that extends beyond Bali and Java and showcases the unique diversity of the worlds largest archipelago.”
We have also been able to support artists from Cambodia, Malaysia, The Philippines and Singapore as well as special projects that involve Australian artists collaborating with artists from South East Asia with projects such as Beastly, a collaboration between Tutti Arts from Adelaide and Stepping Stone from Penang.”
Australia-Indonesia Institute Interim Chair, Associate Professor Greg Fealy says: “The Australia-Indonesia Institute has been a strong supporter of OzAsia Festival for many years. There is so much more to contemporary Indonesian arts and culture than most Australians realise. OzAsia Festival helps spread the message about the vibrancy and diversity of modern Indonesia.”
Projects supported by AII are all Australian premiere events and include:
- Soft Machine: Rianto, features internationally acclaimed Indonesian dancer Rianto and was created and directed by Choy Ka Fai. This dance/theatre production explores the transition between man and woman in simple gestures: a ritualised glance or a seductive movement that transcends gender. Interspersed with documentary accounts of Rianto’s life, the mesmerising and incredibly skilled Indonesian dancer performs the traditional erotic dance Lengger alongside new contemporary styles. 24 – 25 September, Space Theatre.
- In a special 10 year anniversary celebration, Elder Park will host OzAsia Festival’s Outdoor Concert Series with free performances over ten spectacular nights. Australia-Indonesia Institute support is for the following three Indonesian music groups:
o Ega Robot and his modern gamelan troupe (all from West Java) are known for fast paced, upbeat drumming style that links to traditional instruments and dancers. Ega Robot is celebrated throughout Indonesia as one of the country’s most prolific world music performers. Wednesday 21 September, Elder Park, Free Event
o Founded in 2003 by a group of young Papuans, Eyuser’s mission is to infuse local Papuan music with modern tones while still preserving its rich, distinguishable sounds. The relaxing pacific sounds from Papua conjure images of balmy nights, the smell of fresh air and the ocean. Sunday 25 September, Elder Park, Free Event
o Riau Rhythm Chambers present Suvarnadvipa a seamless composition of nine arrangements blending inspirations from numerous ethnic and cultural sources, grounded in the Melayu style from Riau. Unique to the region, this vibrant collaboration is led by acclaimed Indonesian composer Rino Deza Paty. Sunday 25 September, Elder Park, Free Event
Both Eyuser and Riau Rhythm Chambers will perform on Sunday 25 September, which coincides with IndoFest, Australia’s largest community cultural celebration for all things Indonesian.
Support from the Australia-ASEAN-Council has been directed towards three projects from the region, each of which feature as Australian premiere events.
The Chair of the Australia-ASEAN-Council, Ms Christine Holgate says: “We are delighted to lend the Australia-ASEAN-Council’s support to OzAsia Festival. We share the Festival’s passion to showcase the best of contemporary South-East Asian performances to Australian audiences.”
- Highly acclaimed Phare Circus from Cambodia will premiere a new work at OzAsia Festival that is suitable for all ages. This edgy, alternative, down-to-earth, physical theatre and circus performance is suitable for all ages and will be a highlight of the OzAsia Festival program. Part of Phare Performing Social Enterprise, Phare uses art to transform the lives of children living in poverty and difficult social situations. It supports Phare Ponleu Selpak, an NGO school in Battambang founded in 1994 by young men returning from a refugee camp after the Khmer Rouge. This special presentation for OzAsia Festival will showcase some of the company’s most thrilling acts alongside hilarious clown routines and playful audience engagement. 27 September- 2 October, Elder Park.
- Beastly, a project from Adelaide’s Tutti Arts, brings live performance art to the Adelaide Festival Centre Riverdeck, featuring an interactive street art installation designed by Indonesian artist Andres Busrianto, who works alongside artists with disabilities from Tutti Arts and Stepping Stone from Penang. Nearby in the Adelaide Riverbank, discover a world of underground wonderland temples. Inside each temple you’ll discover performance art based on the theme of animals and iconography from South East Asia. 22 – 24 September, 28 September – 1 October, Adelaide Riverbank, Free Event.
- Using ceramic, sculpture, video and sound, Roundabout is a premiere exhibition, curated and featuring three contemporary artists from the Philippines: Mark Valenzuela, Riel Hilario, and Wawi Navarroza. This art exhibition draws from symbols that reflect possession, dominion, and colonialism to represent the contemporary Philippines. It’s a thought provoking cross cultural exchange drawing from Philippine culture and history. 27 Sep – 21 Oct, Adelaide Central School of Art, Free Event.
OzAsia Festival dates are 17 September – 2 October. The 2016 OzAsia Festival features 49 events, 35 Australian premieres, 111 professional performances and 101 community performances. There will be more than 330 professional artists engaged for the festival as well as more than 400 community artists.