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.
05 April 2017
When researching for this project I was struck by the lack of acknowledgement of the First Nations People of New York. This work was a step into a medium I have not explored i.e street art in the forms of stencils and as a follow up paste ups. The design was a fusion of an Aboriginal Australian protest slogan – Always was, Always will be Aboriginal Land and the Native American Medicine Wheel – with the colours of red, yellow and black which hold significance for both First Nations peoples. This work was an attempt to bring to peoples consciousness the presence of First Nations people in New York city and their connection to their land.
01 April 2017
Sophie’s Circles is also intended to create a continuity with and acknowledgement of the artists working a century ago to develop artforms and art practices that could contribute to the revaluation of place (though they may have used different language), well before the disasterous consequences of this devaluation in climate change was generally acknowledged. It also experiments with ways of including the relationship with actual space that is such an important part of their work by preventing its actual space (the ‘space’ of Spaceland) from being subsumed into the virtual space of photographic documentation (our own variation of Lineland).
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.