Cultural Fund Supports Artists Abroad


Wang Zhiyuan, Close to Warmth 2013
Wang Zhiyuan, Close to Warmth 2013 Wang's work featured in the Peach Blossom Spring | Cacotopia Exhibition.

Artists from Australia, China and the UK participated in a series of contemporary art exhibitions, academic forums and workshops in both Darwin and Guangzhou, as part of a cultural exchange program supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

The program culminated in a major exhibition, Peach Blossom Spring | Cacotopia which brought together the work of artists Bu Hua and Wang ZhiYuan (China); Jayne Dyer, James Newitt, Gary Lee and Jason Wing (Australia); and Andy Holden and Wayne Warren (UK), to showcase their interpretation of modern life.

Artists used a range of practices – from film through to photography and printing – to stimulate critical thinking about contemporary social issues, bringing in their local cultural styles and interpretations to issues that translate across cultures to a broader, globalised context.

As exhibition Curator Reg Newitt explains, despite the difference of styles and origins, the central theme of the exhibition was to create a kind of tension between the ideal and the catastrophic.

“The exhibition title incorporates concepts from both Asia and Europe. ‘Peach Blossom Spring’ is the traditional Chinese term for ‘a Utopian environment’. ‘Cacatopia’ is derived from the Greek, meaning a social or environmental situation in decline and regarded as being dehumanized and suffering environmental disaster.

“Much of the artists’ works use irony and humour to reveal aspects of dystopia.

“This attempts to generate discussion and ideas about how we want our future to be,” he said.

Cultural Fund Manager, Zoe Rodriguez said that the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund was about providing creators with the support to make grassroots connections with those who can be instrumental in furthering their career on the world stage.

“We are proud to have helped make this project happen and to provide real, practical assistance to these talented emerging and established creators.

“We hope this project stimulates intrigue and interest in Australian contemporary art and shines the light on some of our remarkable visual artists,” she said.

The exhibitions and related activities gave exposure to Australian artists and enabled connections between the project participants and Guangzhou communities to help further long-term associations in the cultural and academic domains.

Successful applicants to the most recent March round of the Cultural Fund will be formally notified within the next seven weeks. The Cultural Fund endeavours to support a mix of visual arts and publishing projects that increases the profile of Australian content and help Australians compete effectively in the domestic and international marketplace.  For more information, read the Cultural Fund Guidelines.

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