Interview: Cultural exchange key to boost understanding: OzAsia Festival founder – Xinhua | English.news.cn – Xinhua

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Douglas Gautier, CEO and Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival Center, speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Adelaide, Australia, Oct. 25, 2019. Cultural exchange helps boost understanding and China should keep promoting its culture, said Douglas Gautier. (Photo by Lyu Wei/Xinhua)

by Bai Xu, Lyu Wei

ADELAIDE, Australia, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) — Cultural exchange helps boost understanding and China should keep promoting its culture, said Douglas Gautier, CEO and Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival Center.

“Like any civilization, Chinese artists are also interpreting some of the challenges and opportunities in the 21st century, and China is at the forefront of contemporary art in the region,” he told Xinhua in an interview during the OzAsia Festival in the capital of South Australia.

Established by Gautier in 2007, the OzAsia Festival is now Australia’s leading contemporary arts festival engaging with Asia, attracting up to 200,000 audiences each year.

This year it is held between Oct. 17 and Nov. 3. One of the highlights was The Village, one of the most celebrated plays by the famous Chinese director Stan Lai.

This is not the first time for popular Chinese plays to come to Adelaide. In the past years, locals were able to see Rhinos in Love, Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land and Amber, among others.

“We always had a very strong connection with China and Chinese artists,” said Gautier, who named the Chinese Ministry of Culture and the National Center for Performing Arts as among the organizations that they collaborate with.

He said a lot of Chinese contemporary works reflect the artists’ interpretation of the 21 century, talking about issues like technology and climate change.

“It’s a very big change if you think back on it,” he told Xinhua.

Growing up in Adelaide before going back to Britain, Gautier’s interest in the Chinese culture started at a very young age.

“I was always fascinated by the arts and culture of East Asia, China in particular. I was fascinated by Chinese opera and the performance of Chinese music. And I loved Chinese films when I was a young man, and I still do.”

Gautier moved to Hong Kong in 1979 to work in music and arts. “It was a very interesting period,” he recalled.

“I had an opportunity to visit Guangzhou, where I saw one of the great Cantonese opera singers.” He also had chances to hear some of the very local operas, like the one in Quanzhou of east China’s Fujian province.

“It’s such a privilege to be able to look at and experience such a civilization and culture, not only with such a long lineage, but also one which has adapted in many different ways.”

He remembered that when he first went to China, it was just after the Cultural Revolution and there were “lots of different thoughts about what role culture should play.”

“But I think now in China there is multiplicity, which is great,” he said. “If you go to some of those contemporary art districts in Beijing, you would have seen more forward-thinking work than anywhere in the world. That has been the remarkable changes in China during the last 30 years.”

Gautier, who chairs the Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centers, noted that regionally speaking, China has a big influence on Australia. “The second most spoken language in this country is Mandarin… And the interdependence of the two countries is very evident.”

He said that many people are interested in the Chinese culture. “Increasingly, people are studying the Chinese language. I think for Australians who speak, read or write in Chinese, it just opens up a much more intense and broad view of Chinese culture.”

Optimistic about the spread of Chinese culture, he said “I don’t think it’s gonna be too long before we’re going to see more Chinese movies and television series dubbed into English.”

For the popularization of Chinese culture overseas, the advice that Gautier could give was to “keep doing it.”

“When we launched our OzAsia Festival 13 years ago, some people said to me ‘why are you doing this?'” he said, adding that back then, they believed the festival should be in Sydney or Melbourne which were more multicultural.

“And now the same people are saying to me ‘this is a very timely initiative’,” said Gautier with pride.

“We had looked for our cultural and art beacons to come from Europe and America,” he said. “It’s kind of inevitable, but it’s changing. You can see from OzAsia Festival, a lot of our artists are collaborating more with artists around the region, and often with Chinese artists.”

“It’s really important,” he said. “When we are looking at cultures and how they can collaborate, where culture is, usually there is some degree of understanding and tolerance.”

The Golden Country by Tim Watts | ArtsHub Australia – ArtsHub

Tim Watts is the Labor MP for Gellibrand, a Federal Government electorate in the western suburbs of Melbourne in which two-thirds of constituents were born overseas or have a parent born overseas. He mentions that his diary is filled ‘with events from around our region like Tet, Lunar New Year, Fiesta, Thai Pongal, Holi, Diwali and Ramadan.’ Watts’s ancestors arrived in Australia in the 1840s, while his Hong Kong-born wife arrived here in the 1980s. Inarguably, this background qualifies him as an observer of Australia’s multiculturalism at this time.

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Watts has written this book in order to point out the much-needed reforms he believes are essential for Australia to become what he refers to as a golden country – a country free of racial bias at all levels.

In order to give weight to his suggestions, Watts traces the history of Australia’s paranoia about immigration. He reminds the reader that the Immigration Restriction Bill (which formalised the White Australia Policy) was the first piece of ‘high policy’ legislation discussed by the newly formed Federal Parliament in 1901. He is of the view that in spite of the abolition of the White Australia Policy, we still suffer from its residual effects.

Watts gives an insightful account of how Simpson and his donkey, of ANZAC fame, were lauded, while his contemporary, Billy Sing, a part-Chinese trooper, was ignored in spite of his remarkable achievements. Sing’s commanding officer said he was ‘a good hearted, well-behaved fellow and a braver soldier never shouldered a gun.’ Watts describes him as ‘the living embodiment of the Australian Legend’.

It is unfortunate, though, that Watts examines no examples of the bias against Australia’s First Nations People. And while his recommendations for further reforms acknowledges Indigenous Australians, they are largely absent from his historical references.

Not unlike some other gifted politicians, Watts uses individual examples to bolster his generalisations, acknowledging by name a number of Asian-Australians who have broken through the bamboo ceiling. He goes on to point out that a job applicant ‘with a Chinese name would need to submit 68 per cent more job applications than an applicant with an Anglo name and an identical CV to get the same number of interview opportunities.’ He also quotes meaningful statistics which, although publicly available, may come as a surprise to many readers. For example, Watts mentions there are now 2.3 million temporary-visa holders in Australia, ten times more than in 1996. He says ‘around 354,000 people have been living in Australia temporarily for more than a decade.’

Overall, Watts delivers convincing arguments in favour of a multicultural non-racist immigration policy. He acknowledges how far Australians have come to accept and enjoy a multicultural environment. But the bamboo ceiling is firmly in place as evidenced by the very few non-white people who are leaders in our community or members of parliament. He believes a better understanding of our history and a better understanding of the conscious and unconscious biases in our society are part of the solution. The Golden Country is a worthy contribution to that end.

3.5 stars out of 5 ★★★☆

The Golden Country: Australia’s Changing Identity by Tim Watts
Publisher: Text Publishing
ISBN: 9781925603989
Format: Paperback
Categories: Non Fiction, Australian, Politics
Pages: 256
Release Date: 17 September 2019
RRP:
$32.99

Braving the mental health storm, Adrian Eagle is stronger and more creative than ever – Beat Magazine

Words by Tammy Walters

We chat to the rising songwriter before he performs for Generations, the Immigration Museum’s multi-artform extravaganza.

The Immigration Museum and Multicultural Arts Victoria come together to present an events program that extends the bounds of generations, art forms and perspectives. Titled Generations, the event is a celebration of the diversity within the Melbourne multicultural community and features showcases of dance, music, talks, performance art and spoken word pieces, from a wide array of cultural representative artists.

It all takes place this Saturday October 26, between 11am – 5pm at Melbourne Immigration Museum across five zones. The Long Room will be transformed into a dance, music and storytelling space featuring pieces from MIRAZ, Vasa Pasifika and Allara Briggs-Pattison, as well as a panel session lead by Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent Maxine Beneba Clark, which will deep dive into culture, community and change.

There’s also the Courtyard Stage where everything from Chinese dancers, hip hop dance workshops from L2R to performances from emerging artists Muse and Young Doves will take place. They’ll be performing alongside their mentors Thando, MoMO, and Ror as part of Mushroom Group’s Voice for Change initiative.

If that’s not enough, headlining the day is Australian soul, reggae and hip hop frontrunner, Adrian Eagle. Eagle, who has been inseparably linked to ARIA winning, Australia hip hop gods, Hilltop Hoods, since his contribution to their mega-hit, ‘Clark Griswold’ (and about to support them on their gigantic US tour), will be soaring through a set of his breakthrough, tell-all EP, MAMA, offering a taste of his own upcoming national tour.

“The EP tour is going to be myself and a full band, so there’s going to be no tracks. So it will be a really different experience. So far on this tour, it’s just been me coming out, just with myself and the DJ, maybe piano or a drummer, but the EP tour will be a full show experience.

“But this weekend I will have a limited setup, probably two of my players with me. So it will be a taste but I will still come out and sing to my full capabilities and power through the songs so I’m looking forward to it,” Eagle says.

If Eagle has proven anything over this past 18 months, it’s that he doesn’t hold back. His Like A Version cover of Ocean Alley’s ‘Confidence’ shook station listeners, and his singles, ’17 Again’, ‘A.O.K’ and ‘Housing Trust’ have blown audiences away. In both his music and in general, Eagle has been transparent about his struggles throughout his youth, particularly surrounding his health, with a hope to pass on his learnings.

“I’m still working on myself every day and working on my mental health,” he says. “But I think music is a powerful thing and it can be used in a way to speak to the youth and speak to the community and talk about important issues but it can also be used other ways; it’s a really powerful expression, you know.

“When I got back into songwriting a couple of years ago I felt like I wanted to create music for my baby goddaughters and to pass on things that I have learnt along the way and also the positive reminders for myself to push through and keep on living. It took me a really long time to build up any shred of confidence in myself and have belief to do something I want to do.”

If there’s anything to be confident about, it’s that Adrian Eagle will be taking over the music world in the coming years and he has a more few goals in mind to benchmark that success.

“If I make it on the cover of Beat Magazine, I know I’ve made it. Seriously! But Jay Z would be my dream collaboration – put that good energy out there and who knows!”

Before he becomes besties with Jay Z, see Adrian Eagle take over Immigration Museum on Saturday.

Adrian Eagle comes to Melbourne’s Immigration Museum for Generations on Saturday October 26. Grab your tickets via the Museums Victoria website.

Alice in the Antipathies, Cairns Performing Arts Centre (QLD) – ArtsHub

A journey of 5,569 kilometres. A journey in search of a mother’s love. A journey ‘Down Under’.

An international co-production from JUTE Theatre Company, Masakini Theatre Company & Sasi Victoire, Alice in the Antipathies by Dr Sasi Victoire is the culmination of a life colourfully lived. Primarily a visual artist, Victoire’s foray into playwriting brings a different feel to most other plays. Her vision transcends the page due to her dual role as the playwright and the production’s visual designer in charge of the costumes & props.

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The storyline follows the protagonist Asha, played by Sukania Venugopal, across her formative years growing up as a second-generation Indian migrant in an ever-changing, multicultural Malaysia. It then tracks her rollercoaster journey to assimilate into the Australian way of life without completely losing her cultural identity. The dramatic intensity of this tale is juxtaposed against Asha’s risk-taking imaginary friend, the familiar Alice of Alice in Wonderland. Alice is played by Roz Pappalardo and she is a bigger part of Asha’s life than her mum would like, perhaps due to her unquenchable thirst for personal sovereignty above all else, questioning the very role that was laid out readily by her seemingly culture-bound parents. A Ganesha incarnation is played by Phraveen Arikiah, who offers a lighter side to the trials and tribulations that criss-cross the voyage of Asha.

Costumes were vibrant. Asha starts off in a blue knee-length dress with a pinafore over the top, as made iconic by the illustrations from Alice in Wonderland. A matching apron links her to her imaginary counterpart, Alice. The mother character (or the Red Queen) played by Sabera Shaik, is effortlessly draped in a traditional red sari with gold trim. Ganesha wears an inspired outfit and even those audience members with a limited knowledge of Hindu mythology will recognise the elephant trunk and crown. 

The set designers, Simona Cosentini & Simone Tesorieri, created a minimalist stage design setup which skilfully allowed for the characters and their dialogue to be front and centre – a table, representing her childhood kitchen, a bed, a shrine, large ceramic pot and central screen installation, which is utilised for projections of artwork. The projections, however, didn’t quite depict the true depth of the actual inspirational art pieces. 

The opening musical number with the chorus lyrics of Child of Mine was risky, yet with risk can come great reward. Kudos to sound designer Tristen Barton. 

There is a liberal smattering of Alice in Wonderland references throughout, adding to the overall aesthetic of the piece. By unfairly calling her mum the Red Queen the temptation is too great to not have her tout her catchphrase, ‘Off with her head!’

There is a touching gem in the penultimate scene that will clench hearts and complete the circle. 

So why not follow Alice on a trip down the rabbit hole? It is well worth the journey.

4 stars out of 5 ★★★★

Alice in the Antipathies
Playwright + Designer: Dr Sasi Victoire 
Director: Dr Chandrabhanu 
Sound Design & Composer: Tristen Barton
Set Designers: Simona Cosentini and Simone Tesorieri
Visual Design, Costume & Props: Dr Sasi Victoire
Lighting Designer: Normah Nordin
Vision Designer: Dave Masters
Cast: Phraveen Arikiah, Sabera Shaik, Sukania Venugopal, Roz Pappalardo
8-12 October 2019
Cairns Performing Arts Centre
Tickets $49

Sampa The Great: The African voice of Australian rap – BBC News

The Return isn’t just a meditation on diaspora, discontentment, and homesickness, but a celebration of her family. The opening track, Mwana, features Sampa’s mother and her sister Mwanje. “I mean, we sing [together] all the time anyway,” Sampa cackles. “We’ve been performing for our parents in our living room since we were young so it was really beautiful.” Her sister isn’t just a guest feature but the impetus and inspiration behind Sampa’s ambassadorial role for young Africans in Australia, which at first terrified her. 

“I didn’t know the history of anything of the country itself, or the hip-hop scene, and I felt like this ambassadorial role was being thrust upon me,” she says. The first interlude of the album, Wake Up, a recorded voicemail from a friend pinpoints this moment. “Your phone’s still off,” the voicemail begins.

“Listen, I get what you’re dealing with a hundred percent

And it’s really hard and it’s rough

But we’re black

And you’re black in the music industry, no less

This is just how it is

You just have to be able to deal.”

Scott Morrison says multicultural Australia is like a ‘fragrant garam masala’ – SBS News

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has likened Australia’s multicultural society to a tasty blend of garam masala spices.

He made the comparison at a Deepavali function in Parliament’s Great Hall on Monday night, hosted by the Hindu Council of Australia.

“As I often talk about at functions like this, there are many metaphors given to explain multiculturalism in Australia, but the one I like best is garam masala,” he said.

“Getting the cloves and the black cardamom and all this, and you put it all together.

“You have any one of them on their own, rubbish. Doesn’t leave a good taste in the mouth. But when you blend them all together, you crunch them up…wow.

“And that is the fragrance that comes from Australia’s multicultural society.”

Indian people light oil lamps during the Light Festival as part of the Diwali festival celebrations in Bhopal, India.

EPA

Deepavali, or Diwali, is the Hindu festival of light and is celebrated around the world as a spiritual victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil.

Australia was the most successful multi-cultural country in the World, Mr Morrison told the Deepavali celebration.

The Indian diaspora had given an incredible amount to Australia, Mr Morrison added.

“There is so much that we share together. Democracy, language, and even a national day.

“The links in history between our peoples are great, through both peace and war. We are the most successful multicultural country on earth, in Australia.”

Mr Morrison also used his speech to touch on the wartime history linking Australia and India.

“There is more to acknowledge in this relationship. We often speak of the 26,000 Australians who were casualties at Gallipoli.

“But what we don’t often speak of is the 1400 Indians who fell and the more than 3500 who were wounded in that battle side by side with our Anzacs.”

Performers pose for photograhs during Diwali celebrations at Federation Square in Melbourne.

AAP

Mr Morrison also told a story about Indian soldiers watching German and Allied troops spontaneously celebrating Christmas on the Western Front during World War I.

“On Christmas Eve of 1914 they were dug in near a French village. And then something odd happened. The guns fell silent and music could be heard from the German lines.

“There was the Christmas truce. A spontaneous act of peace and compassion seen up and down the Western Front.

“The Indians looked on as the Germans began to place small, candlelit trees along their trenches.

“And while that reminded those of the Christian faith of Christmas, those lights reminded those of the Hindu faith of Deepavali.”

Nexus Arts reveals new leadership team – The Adelaide Review

Nexus Arts reveals new leadership team – The Adelaide Reviewhe Adelaide ReviewFacebookTwitterhe Adelaide Reviewacebooknstagramwitter

Nexus Arts’ music programs manager Emily Tulloch will take up the role of artistic director in a leadership reshuffle that will see the organisation continue its pivot to supporting ‘intercultural’ collaboration.

Announced this week, Emily Tulloch will step into the role of artistic director, while film academic Dr Blythe Chandler will take over as Nexus Arts’ new general manager. This latest appointment follows previous executive director Louise Dunn’s move in July from Nexus Arts to its Lion Arts Centre neighbour ACE Open, a change precipitated by the departure of ACE Open’s founding CEO Liz Nowell.

While Tulloch’s previous role focussed on Nexus’ musical offerings, as artistic director she will also oversee the organisation’s visual arts program and gallery space. The junction between visual and performing arts is something Tulloch already has experience in exploring, particularly through her work with Zephyr Quartet.

“It just reminded me how much music can benefit from connecting with the place of its creation, that spatial aspect,” she says of a recent Zephyr Quartet performance down the road at Samstag Museum of Art, that saw the ensemble perform a response to Louise Haselton’s SALA Festival exhibition like cures like in situ among the work. “Personally I feel there’s a great synergy between art forms, and there’s a really natural, beautiful way that music and visual art can interact and provoke one another.”

Emily Tulloch performs as part of Zephyr Quartet: Domestic Alchemy, Samstag Museum of Art, 2019 (Photo: Sia Duff)

In her new role Tulloch says she hopes to continue Nexus’ shift from a ‘multicultural’ space – the organisation dropped the word from its title last year – to one focussed on fostering an ‘intercultural’ society. “That’s the word that has been a changing point for Nexus, moving towards an understanding of ‘interculturalism’, of understanding our diverse country,” Tulloch says. “That just slightly changes the focus to cultures working together as opposed to ‘multiculturalism’, which, while celebrating and supporting individual cultures, can have the effect of siloing them.

“What I’ve been really interested in my programming is promoting new work that brings together artists of diverse backgrounds to work together in the creation of new work that [bridges] their various genre or artistic heritages – whether that’s musical heritages or cultural ones – to create something that could be called distinctively new or ‘Australian’ work, that reflects the diverse cultures that we know our nation is made up of.”

Emily Tulloch and Dr Blythe Chandler (Photo: Emma Luker)

That push is reflected in Tulloch’s 2019 programming choices, from the July premiere of a specially commissioned collaboration between guzheng player Zhao Liang and drummer Jarrad Payne, to the upcoming pairing of Filipino and Aboriginal rapper DOBBY and Adelaide-based folk singer Naomi Keyte on 2 November as part of OzAsia Festival.

“The work we’re doing is contemporary in nature, but that doesn’t mean that artists who work in a contemporary fashion don’t draw on their heritage or traditional methods. So there is still a place for us to connect with community and to be presenting work that reflects and represents the diversity of Australia, that is also looking forward, particularly in terms of intercultural thinking.”

nexusarts.org.au

Your weekend in Melbourne October 5 to 6 – The Age

Eric Lewis aka ELEW.Credit:WireImage

JAZZ Eric Lewis, or ELEW as he is also known, began his career re-imagining famous pop and rock songs, playing them in unconventional fashion. Through improvisation, he blended rock with jazz, interpreting songs by Coldplay, the Killers and Nirvana, as well as collaborating with rapper Lil Wayne. Saturday and Sunday, 7.45pm, Bird’s Basement, 11 Singers Lane, city, $45-$65, 1300 225 299, birdsbasement.com

Orchestra Victoria’s Five at 5: Grand Septet.

CLASSICAL The fourth performance by Orchestra Victoria’s Five at 5: Grand Septet features the works of Kreutzer, Hindson and Shostakovich in an evening of evocative lyricism and symphonies. The musicians will offer a meet-and-greet after the performance. Saturday, 5pm, Joan Hammond Hall, 77 Southbank Boulevard, Southbank, $22-$26, 9694 3600, australianballet.com.au

STAGE

Overture.Credit:Bryony Jackson

DANCE Overture explores the notion of unattainable connections with other people. Dancer Jo Lloyd reconstructs imagined meetings with past heroes, having pretended to interview famous people she would have liked to meet when she was younger. The performance challenges the likeliness of forming connections that seem already to have been lost. Saturday 7pm, Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, corner of Queensberry and Errol streets, North Melbourne, $25-$39, 9662 4242, festival.melbourne

The Window Outside is a powerful new Australian work.

DRAMA Elderly couple Frank and Evelyn are having to make some tough decisions in their final years. Both are impaired by different illnesses, and their eldest daughter, Sharon, struggles as the primary carer. Sharon’s younger sister, Miranda, meanwhile, lives a life of abundance in London. The Window Outside explores how an Australian family navigates the emotional pathway of ageing and illness. Saturday 2pm and 7.30pm, Sunday 2pm, Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, Northcote, $22-$35, 9481 9500, northcotetownhall.com.au

ELSEWHERE

MARKET The Shepparton Farmers’ Market includes fresh produce, craft stalls and live music from the Goulburn Valley and surrounds. Sunday, 9am-1pm, Emerald Bank Leisure Land, 7717 Goulburn Valley Highway, Kialla, gold coin entry, vfma.org.au

CITY  The City Library book sale returns with a selection of pre-loved fiction and non-fiction books. Books are $1 each and 50 cents for junior items. Saturday, 11am-3pm, City Library, 253 Flinders Lane, city, free entry, 9658 9500, melbourne.vic.gov.au

Bird Island Academy.

FAMILY  Sea Life Melbourne is hosting Bird Island Academy during the school holidays. The immersive experience encourages guests to complete challenges through the aquarium. Saturday and Sunday, 10am-5.30pm, Melbourne Aquarium, $25-$38, melbourneaquarium.com.au

ART Artist Pamela Reid’s latest exhibition Stage Door is an expression of the artist’s own career in showbiz. Pamela pays homage to life behind the stage door through a series of intricate life drawings. Saturday and Sunday, noon-5pm, Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran, free, 82907000, chapeloffchapel.com.au

OUT OF TOWN Bendigo Uncorked Week celebrates everything food and wine. Events include dinners, a drinks tram and a wine-themed movie night. Saturday and Sunday, various times, locations and prices, 1800 813 153, bendigoregion.com.au

FESTIVALThe Victorian Seniors Festival kicks off on Sunday with Celebration Day, a range of music, dancing, active living demonstrations, roving troubadours and stalls. Sunday, various times, locations and prices, seniorsonline.vic.gov.au

Joe Chindamo.

FESTIVALThe Montsalvat Arts Festival features performances, workshops and activities for all ages. Musical talent includes Capella Corelli, Joe Chindamo and Wadaiko Rindo. Saturday and Sunday, Montsalvat, 7 Hillcrest Avenue, Eltham, 94397712, montsalvat.com.au

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