Indonesia Calling - A free public forum on Indonesian arts today (July 18, 2008)


Published Thursday, 3 July 2008

The contemporary culture of Indonesia, Australia's most populous neighbour, will be celebrated and explored at a unique one-day event.

Popularly known for batik textiles, and wayang performances, artists in Indonesia today explore issues as diverse as any in the world—politics, society, new media communications—and do it with a vigour and bravura that is rarely matched. Australian artists often work in great collaborations with colleagues in Indonesia, creating new and challenging pieces that take the stories of both cultures to new denouements.

This forum offers the opportunity to get to know more about what is happening now in Indonesian culture, and what has made it so. Experts Ariel Heryanto, Barbara Hatley, Wulan Dirgantoro, Caroline Turner and Amrih Widodo will lay the foundations for deeper understanding. Practitioners will talk about their work in this context, and include journalist and novelist, Dewi Anggraeni; Indonesian author, activist and feminist, Julia Suryakusuma; visual artist Susan Barlow; Indonesian born/Melbourne based filmmaker, and winner of the Open Channel's Short & Sharp 2007 competition, Arsisto Ambyo; Director of leading puppetry/theatre company Snuff Puppets, Ian Pidd; and choreographer and dancer, Jade Dewi Tyas Tunggal.

The morning will focus on visual arts, film and literature, and the afternoon on performance. The day will kick off with a performance of soulful Javanese songs by Australian/Indonesian singer, Ria Soemardjo, and closes with participants having the opportunity to take off their shoes and learn the basics of Javanese dance, led by performer-academic Amrih Widodo.

Alison Carroll, Director of Asialink Arts says Australians live close to Indonesia, but our knowledge of Indonesian culture is very poor. This is a unique chance to delve deeper into knowing and understanding this culture better.

The forum is named after a 1946 film about Australian trade unionists helping Indonesia's revolutionary forces found the new republic. It was a time of keen collaboration. The name, Indonesia Calling, also naturally alludes to the active partnerships possible with Indonesia today.

Asialink Arts’s annual forum is the main arena for discussing key issues of interest between Asia and Australia. Past forums have focused on Japan, collaborations, new media, arts & community practice, residencies and broad strategic agendas. This is the first forum to focus on Indonesia.

The Indonesia Calling forum is presented by Asialink, University of Melbourne and the Research School of Humanities and Faculty of Asian Studies, Australian National University, supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Registration is essential by MONDAY 14 JULY 2008.
To register please email arts@asialink.unimelb.edu.au with 'Arts Forum 08' in the subject line and a list of all the registrations in the body of the email.

Venue: Carrillo Gantner Lecture Theatre, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne
Date: 18 July, 9.15am to 5pm

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