Cementa17 Contemporary Arts Festival: Kandos NSW
6 to 9 April 2017
4 days and nights of performance, sound, cabaret, interactive and electronic arts, video, photography, installation and ceramics
Kandos was built to house the workforce of the Kandos cement works and collieries. Sitting at the foot of Combamolang (Coombermelon) Mountain – Kandos looks out at one of the most stunning landscapes in inland NSW. With this region as its focus, Cementa17 will celebrate the diversity of voices that can be heard within our contemporary arts communities.
Cementa17 presented a strong showing of works by Indigenous artists, including installations by Tony Albert, Teena McCarthy and Paris Norton, and a portrait series by Mervyn Bishop. For the first time we ventured out of town to locations in the landscape. PYT | Fairfield presented Pagoda Parkour at Ganguddy.
In the Correspondence of Imaginary Places, artworks by 7 artists from New York were installed at Birds Hut by 7 Australian artists; the Australian artists, in return, had their work installed in and around Manhattan. Gilbert Grace presented The Hemp Initiative as part of his residency on Marloo, a 3000-acre property outside Kandos. Farmer Stuart Andrews lead a tour of Marloo, demonstrating Natural Sequence Farming.
Cementa17 was loaded with our usual events: Opening Night, Sound Night, Cabaret Night, not to mention daytime scheduled and spontaneous performances. Mark Shorter and Sach Catts dug and chopped in rhythmic exchange, Greg Pritchard played a round of performance golf, Linda Brescia dressed up as an artist to allay anxieties.
30 March 2017
Untitled (Dissent/Descent) is about the atrophy of Western-style Democracy and the consequent erosion of civil rights that were once hard-won through sustained protest and activist movements. Protest today - while still offering fleeting but powerful feelings of solidarity - seems to be a flaccid, theatrical tool that can no longer generate lasting, positive social change. Governments cannot be shamed into action anymore; acts of hope are easily subverted and used as weapons in the fight to consolidate power, wealth and privilege. This is not to say there aren’t alternatives; just that the change is now enacted somewhat invisibly by small communities instead.
27 March 2017
We are dancing together to create a performance, Whispers in the Grass, a story of dispossession, grief and survival. Dance speech poetry and song are the archives of oral cultures and we are building our own archive of feeling. It is one of many stories of the Scots diaspora to Australia in the 19th century and it follows a local story, the story of how local farmer George McDonald’s forebears came from famine in Skye in 1852, to the Capertee Valley.
17 March 2017
Every day, comments are made to women which shape their identity, behaviours, social groups and self worth. Most of these are said with such frequency that we hardly acknowledge them. The phrases run the gamut, addressing behaviour and appearance along with directing our aspirations and goals.