Asia in Darwin

Asia in Darwin is a DCA project funded by Festivals NT, through Arts NT, that aims to build relations between community-based cultural and artistic practitioners and organisations in order to enhance the basic people-to-people foundation of links between Asia and Darwin.

Priority countries for strategic partnerships could be Indonesia, Philippines, Timor Leste, and Japan, based on existing links, and based on needs to develop links further (to serve the Northern Territory’s cultural, social, and economic interests).

The Exchanges and Residencies will feature agreed strategic outcomes for all parties; agreements can be multilateral as well as bilateral; the focus will be on sharing and learning theoretical and practical knowledge and skills in cultural and artistic practice; the duration will be one week per residency (or longer depending on resourcing); residencies will involve immersion and collaboration with Darwin’s diverse cultural communities. Residencies will coincide or be integrated with relevant festivals and events in Darwin.

Darwin Community Arts has been actively pursuing exchange and residential opportunities independently as well as in partnership with other organisations as part of its Strategic Plan for 2014 – 2019. An initial success in this regard is the Wedhus Gembel project, with Snuff Puppets and artists from Yogyakarta, participating in Darwin Festival this year, with support from Australia Council.

There are other community-based artists and organisations that DCA and its partners are pursuing exchanges with. These groups will be involved in pilot residencies in 2014:

Asian Movement for People’s Music (aMP3): DCA has an ongoing partnership with the aMP3, a network of socially-engaged singer-songwriters and musicians in Asia who make music about sustainable development and other social concerns. It has network links in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Korea, Japan, Timor Leste, and Australia. aMP3 artists will be in Darwin in October-November 2014 for a workshop and performance program for various communities. They will also participate in the For Arts Sake and Trading Ideas Conferences during the same period.

Arte Moris: Timor Leste’s first Fine Arts School, Cultural Center and Artists’ Association. Arte Moris was established in 2003. Its primary aim was to use art as a building block in the psychological and social reconstruction of a country devastated by violence, with special emphasis on helping its young citizens. Artists from Arte Moris will work with the Darwin Fridge Festival I October-November 2015, including running workshops to make musical instruments from recycled materials.

Asia in Darwin 2015

DCA will host 5 artists-in-residence in 2015 for its Asia in Darwin program, continuing the Asia in Darwin residencies started in 2014. Artists in 2015 are: Tony Amaral and Etson Camonha from Timor Leste, Jess Santiago and Leonard Reyes from the Philippines, and Suwichan “Chi” Phatthanaphraiwan from Thailand. The artists will perform, paint, exhibit, run workshops, and other activities with various community groups and artists from 30 July to 27 August. They will participate in Darwin Festival events also such as performing at Festival Park, and painting the Lighthouse. They will collaborate with visiting artists of the Harbour project with Darwin Visual Arts Association, with printmaking students at Charles Darwin University, with students at Kormilda College and Palmerston Senior College, and others. Contact Bong Ramilo and Meri Davies for more information about the residencies.

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