Cementa Inc. is a not-for-profit incorporated association dedicated to cultivating contemporary Australian art. Cementa’s major production is a biennial festival of contemporary art in the town of Kandos in the NSW Central West. Cementa festival brings together artists from urban and regional contexts for a 4-day celebration of the state of contemporary art in Australia. More than 60 artists exhibit video, installation, sound, performance and 2D and 3D artworks in venues and locations across the town and its surrounds. Venues include shopfronts, vacant lots, the scout hall, local museum, community centre, golf course, people’s yards, rural properties and public parks. The works address the identity, history and current social, environmental and economic context of the town and its region. Taking its regional situation as its focus, Cementa celebrates the rich diversity of voices that can be heard within our contemporary arts communities across the spectrum of practice, from the emerging to the established, from the obscure to the prominent.
Kandos is a small town (pop. 1200) approximately 3½ hours drive from Sydney, between Lithgow and Mudgee. Founded just over 100 years ago, the town grew up around the cement works and owes its existence to nearby plentiful supplies of limestone and coal. The Kandos works was once the largest cement plant in the southern hemisphere, attracting workers from all over the globe. Its high-quality cement was used to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge and much of the city of Sydney.
In 2012 the cement works closed, leaving the town without its defining industry but creating an opportunity for transformation. We believe the presence of this industrial heritage in the rural heartland of NSW provides an ideal context for the demonstration of contemporary art’s capacity to describe, engage, critique and celebrate both the world and our living in it.