A public forum titled the Asia/Pacific Cultural Futures Forum and a series of Artists’ Talks was presented at Campbelltown Arts Centre the day following the launch.
You can read some of the transcript from the Forum reproduced by the Adelaide-based contemporary art journal BROADSHEET here. http://www.cacsa.org.au/cvapsa/2010/4_39.2/39.2_EdgeOfElsewhere.pdf
Matangi Tonga performance in partnership with Newell Harry
Edge of Elsewhere was launched first at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on 14 January 2010, followed the next day by the project launch at Campbelltown Arts Centre.
The launch presented two special performances by Pacific community groups in Campbelltown, the Samoan group Fetu O Le Moana, and the Tongan group Matangi Tonga, the latter having worked collaboratively with Newell Harry to produce a performative outcome that engaged with the artist’s installation work presented at Campbelltown Arts Centre.
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (4A), is the national peak-body organisation for contemporary Asian and Asian-Australian art. Through an innovative and comprehensive program of exhibitions and public programs, 4A promotes dialogue between Australia and Asia creating a greater understanding of diverse cultures through the arts. 4A’s program focuses on cross-cultural exchange in contemporary experiences of everyday life and culture. We believe that contemporary art has the potential to explore the complex and multi-faceted relationship between Asia and Australia. 4A provides an inclusive and innovative environment for contemporary artists to investigate Australia’s place within the region.
Campbelltown Arts Centre is a multidisciplinary contemporary arts centre located in Western Sydney. Since opening in 2005, the Centre has pioneered a contemporary arts program that engages with critical issues of our times. The Centre supports the research, commissioning and production of new work and creates platforms for contemporary artists to work within new contexts, across disciplines and in collaboration with communities to examine issues and events that shape contemporary life.
“In interviews I am often asked what I think is the primary purpose of Sydney Festival. This question can lead the discussion down a hundred pathways. A festival like ours has so many faces, is such a versatile and evolving organism that has morphed continually since it was conceived in the 70s to bring people into a holiday-deserted CBD and attract tourism. Over three decades Sydney Festival has successfully asserted itself as a celebration of Sydney as an increasingly sophisticated and global city. With Sydney Festival’s increasingly outward focus and multiple ‘owners’, it’s easy to be distracted from the fundamentals. But at its core, a festival—any festival—is a meeting place; time and space set aside for bringing people together in celebration of our shared humanity.
Of all the projects slated for Sydney Festival over the next three years, few speak as eloquently or as profoundly to the idea of a festival as a meeting place as Campbelltown Arts Centre’s Edge of Elsewhere. This project functions as a meeting place for international artists and local communities, as a site where visual art meets performance, technology and community activity, theoretical discourse meets practice, new media meets painting and weaving, and Festival audiences across Sydney meet the ideas and contemporary practices of some extraordinary artists from Indigenous Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Significantly, it is a meeting place that connects the CBD with several Western Sydney communities through engagements at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in Sydney’s Chinatown and Campbelltown Arts Centre.”
[excerpt from Foreword to Edge of Elsewhere 2010 publication].
Shigeyuki Kihara, Talanoa: Walk the Talk III, 2009, HDV on DVD, courtesy the artist. Performance by Samoa Congregational Christian Church, Mukti Gupteshwar Mandir Society and Shigeyuki Kihara. Commissioned by Campbelltown Arts Centre for Edge of Elsewhere. Photo by Susannah Wimberley.
“The idea for Edge of Elsewhere emerged from a meeting with Lindy Hume, Director of Sydney Festival, at Campbelltown Arts Centre early in 2009. In this meeting Lindy outlined her vision for the Festival over the next three years. It was both exciting and ambitious and, for the first time, genuinely thought about Sydney in its wider context, as a single place that included the two million people in the communities within Western Sydney who make up one-third of the population of New South Wales. Statistics are always being used when governments think of Western Sydney, but these are not just numbers: they represent the reality that Sydney’s population and demographic centre—the very people that define Australia’s largest, most culturally diverse city and an international hub in the Asia and Pacific region—lies somewhat west of her great harbour.
I could see that Lindy ‘got it’—that there isn’t a more exciting place or context to make contemporary art than in Western Sydney and that real international connections could be made between communities and artists in the context of the Sydney Festival, which is, after all, an opportunity for Sydney’s communities to celebrate, participate in and be challenged by ideas and the work of some of the world’s best artists.”
[excerpt from Preface to Edge of Elsewhere 2010 publication].
During each Sydney Festival in January an exhibition is presented across two venues, Campbelltown Arts Centre and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. The exhibitions comprises significant yearly outcomes of the commissioned artists projects alongside off-site public performances and community and artists’ talks.
Edge of Elsewhere is curated by Lisa Havilah, Director of Campbelltown Arts Centre; Aaron Seeto, Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; and Dr Thomas J. Berghuis, Lecturer in Asian Art, University of Sydneyand is produced for Sydney Festival by Campbelltown Arts Centre in partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, through Community Partnerships and the Visual Arts Board, and the NSW Government through Arts NSW