Arts Preview

Arts Down Under 2022: OzAsia Festival 2022 releases programme

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival proudly presents three fabulous weeks of the best contemporary Asian and Asian Australian performance, art, literature, cuisine, and culture when the 2022 event returns, taking place from 20th October to 6th November.

This year’s program features more than 500 community, national and international artists from more than 8 countries, and includes 10 world premieres, one Australian premiere and seven Adelaide premieres, across 50 ticketed and free events and exhibitions.

In her third year as Artistic Director, Annette Shun Wah is excited to welcome outstanding artists, writers, and thinkers from around Australia and Asia. Says OzAsia Festival Artistic Director Annette Shun Wah: “I loved the way OzAsia Festival audiences embraced our program last year. With borders open this year we offer even more exceptional, meaningful, and enthralling works of creativity and artistry, putting Asian and Asian Australian perspectives, imaginations, and ideas firmly at the centre of this unique festival. Join us for three weeks of wonder, beauty, magic, and stories that will warm your heart and fill minds and stomachs in the most satisfying ways.”

Free family favourite event, the Moon Lantern Trail, returns on the opening weekend, over four fun days! Wander around Tarntanya Wama/Pinky Flat at your own pace to discover more than a dozen giant handcrafted lanterns, including four brand-new lanterns and the popular 40-metre-long Hong Kong Dragon. Attendees will be welcomed in through the newly-commissioned Gate of Grace, which lights up at night. Created by renowned artist Tianli Zu, her signature papercut design is inspired by Australian and Asian natural elements and what they culturally symbolise. Also on offer are free roving performances, puppetry and live music, plus interactive workshops to create your own mementos of the visit.

The Australian premiere of SNAP by South Korea’s GRUEJARM Productions is a magical, mind-boggling mix of illusion, mime, comedy, and cabaret, wowing international audiences including on Broadway and at Edinburgh Fringe. Mixing sleight of hand, Chaplinesque vaudevillian comedy and incredible visual effects, the storyline follows three tricksters who stumble through a mysterious door, meet a variety of mystical characters, and find themselves visiting multiple realities in a stunning fantasy art performance not to be missed.

Two works will have their world premiere in 2022 after postponements from the OzAsia Festival 2021 program. Leading film actor and fight choreographer Maria Tran’s Action Star smashes everything from glass ceilings to gender and racial stereotypes, as she reveals her story in her theatrical debut. Choreographer Sue Healey’s The Long Walk is inspired by the pilgrimage of over 16,000 Chinese miners in the 1850s to Victoria’s goldfields. The piece will be performed on Robe’s uniquely beautiful, rugged coastline and led by Asian Australian dancers Kimball Wong and Julian Renlong Wong, and simultaneously streamed online and to Adelaide Festival Centre’s Space Theatre via real-time drone and camera recording as the dancers move spontaneously across the extraordinary landscape.

Two additional works from OzAsia Festival’s 2021 program will now make their Adelaide premiere in 2022. Michael Mohammed Ahmad’s gripping play The Demon investigates the history of the White Australia Policy in an action-filled, neo-noir investigation set in modern-day Sydney, whilst Chinese Australian musician, composer, and performer Mindy Meng Wang’s When is a deeply personal tale of upheaval, family, and the global pandemic, sharing stories between her hometown of Lanzhou, Wuhan and her new home of Melbourne.

Renowned journalist Jane Hutcheon delves into her family archives to narrate her mother’s extraordinary childhood in pre-communist China in Lost in Shanghai in an intimate and moving show at Space TheatreIn an Adelaide dance premiere not to be missed and on the final weekend of the festival, Dalisa Pigram, a Yawuru and Bardi woman with Malay and Filipino heritage, reaches into Australia’s history of decolonisation and industrialisation on traditional lands to ask how we can shift from a broken past to a brighter future in Gudirr Gudirr. The title is taken from the call of the guwayi bird to signal when the tide is turning: a well-known signal to the Aboriginal people of the northwest region of Australia.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM: “This year’s OzAsia Festival program shines brightly on ideas central to our multicultural community. I look forward to seeing everyone out and about at the diverse variety of free and ticketed events that we will have on offer for audiences.”

Music also plays an important role in this year’s program. Bridge of Dreams is a breathtaking collaboration between 22 pre-eminent Australian and Indian musicians, led by award-winning saxophonist Sandy Evans. Iconic New York-based Singaporean pianist Margaret Leng Tan explores her 50-year career and its impact on avant garde music in Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep. And on the final day, Hyoshi in Counterpoint sees virtuoso percussionist Satomi Ohnishi and Guzheng virtuoso Zhao Liang lead an all-star collective of six South Australian women, all from different musical traditions and practices.

Korean alternative K-pop sensation LEENALCHI (이날치) and Australian-Korean hip-hop supergroup 1300 team up to present one exhilarating night of alt-pop, funk, and rap, whilst Nexus Arts will host Eastmode in the West End: one massive block party celebrating the rise of Asian hip-hop and RnB, featuring multi-award-winning artist Kuya James and DJ/curator Diola along with artists Eastmode, Parvyn, Barkada, Claz and many more to be announced!

Taking place on the final weekend is writing and ideas program In Other Words, under the new curatorship of writer and performer Jennifer Wong (host of ABC iView Chopsticks or Fork?), and with guest curators and well-known journalists and broadcasters Beverley Wang (ABC Radio National) and Marc Fennell (SBS TV The FeedDatelineMastermind Australia; ABC TV India NowThe School That Tried to End Racism). The program returns for another year of hard-hitting conversations between poets, novelists, journalists, playwrights, performers, and creatives from around the world. Events include the new Business Breakfast, hosted by business leader Karen Loon, and Lunch on the Riverbank with local celebrated author Katherine Tamiko Arguile. The full program of exciting events for In Other Words will be announced and on sale in September.

Returning after an incredible debut in 2021, The Special Comedy Comedy Special brings together a stellar bill of Asian Australian comedians on Her Majesty’s Theatre stage. With live music by local streetband Trio Sepia and hosted by Jennifer Wong, who will also perform. The lineup is drawn from the Australian comedy circuit and The Project, The Footy Show and Triple J including Michael Hing, Suren Jayemanne, Suraj Kolarkar, Lizzy Hoo, Annie Louey, Patrick Golamco, Jason Chong, andSouth Australian performers The Coconuts (Shabana Azeez and Leela Varghese).

Minister for Arts, The Honourable Andrea Michaels MP: “I congratulate OzAsia Festival on its 15th year in 2022 and encourage everyone to make the most of the incredible program that Annette Shun Wah and her team have curated. The South Australian Government is proud to support this wonderfully popular event and annual staple on Adelaide’s festival calendar.”

Knowing that it’s just as important to feed one’s stomach as it is one’s mind, OzAsia Festival favourite, Lucky Dumpling Market, is once again at Elder Park serving up a colourful range of delicious cuisine from the best local vendors! Brought to you by the Gluttony team, enjoy free live entertainment with Lucky Beats (a selection of local and national music acts on the main stage), a range of community performances, and free family-friendly workshops on offer each weekend.

Taking place at both Lucky Dumpling Market and on Festival Plaza, with separate performance sessions on offer at both settings, is the free event, the world premiere of rock opera The Rat Catcher of Angkor Wat, a ground-breaking outdoor musical theatre and puppetry experience set in the futuristic year of 2222. Created by Victoria’s A Blanck Canvas and world-famous psych rockers The Cambodian Space Project, it’s a perfect evening addition to your OzAsia Festival experience.

A brand-new event in 2022 is the Bubble Tea Garden! Overlooking Lucky Dumpling Market and taking place from 5-6 November, come along to try this beloved Taiwanese delicacy that has taken the world by storm; you may even be among the first to sample some exclusive Festival flavours…

In collaboration with State Theatre Company South Australia comes playwright Michelle Law’s smash hit family comedy Single Asian Female, directed by Adelaide’s Nescha Jelk and starring Juanita Navas-Nguyen, Elvy-Lee Quici, and star of The Family Law, Fiona Choi.

One-day events include AnimeGO! the annual celebration of pop culture that showcases everything cool and quirky about Japan through cosplay, anime, workshops, and competitions, hosted for the first time at Adelaide Festival Centre, in the Banquet Room. In its seventh year, OzAsia Festival favourite Chinese Music Day at Elder Hall and Elder Conservatorium of Music is an opportunity to experience the beauty of Chinese music and instruments in both traditional and new ways.

Visual artists will also take centre stage with the King William Road screens displaying A New World on Earth, artist Tianli Zu’s newest video animation depicting the relationships between humankind and nature through digital work, set to a soundtrack by Australian composer Andrew Zhou. Nexus Arts will host Pendulum, curated by South Australia’s Jonathan Kim, and in which six local second-generation Asian immigrant visual artists explore the process of acculturation (assimilating into a new culture) and the restoration that comes from reconnection.

Adelaide’s Festival Centre’s Festival Theatre foyers will display three exhibitions all programmed around the theme of “Women at Work” as a visual response to 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL, playing in Festival Theatre throughout October. On display is work in a variety of different mediums, exploring such ideas as the inequitable division of labour across gender and racial divides, the fight for education and employment, and the limitations of both the glass and the bamboo ceiling. From Indonesia, Batik Sangiran captures on cloth cultural motifs designed by a team of thirteen researchers and ten women batik artists. Dream Job, curated by Melbourne-based curator and arts writer Sophia Cai, examines the highs and lows of how, where, why, and for whom women work in the modern world. Art, Not War features the work of Shamsia Hassani, Afghanistan’s first female graffiti artist, and will include a brand-new work created specifically for OzAsia Festival.

OzAsia Festival 2022 runs from 20th October to 6th November 2022. More information available here

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