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online e-dition sept 5

in the loop sept 5: asian flavours under a full moon

ozasia, adelaide festival centre

Fearless Nadia Fearless Nadia
courtesy OzAsia Festival
While this year’s OzAsia in Adelaide will present work from all around the region, there is a predominantly Indian flavour to the festivities. Kicking off the event is Fearless Nadia, a film and music project by the renowned Australian drummer Ben Walsh. Fearless Nadia revisits the story of Mary Evans, the stuntwoman from Perth who, in the 1930s became an Indian superstar. The performance includes a restored version of her most famous film, Diamond Queen (1940), accompanied by a newly composed score by Walsh who will be joined by guest musicians and dancers from India including tabla maestro Aneesh Pradhan (Sept 14-15).

Unchartered Seas and Timeless, Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company Unchartered Seas and Timeless, Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company
courtesy OzAsia Festival
Also from India is the Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company presenting a double-bill. The first work, Uncharted Seas, presents Kathak dance, one of the eight traditional Indian forms, known for its intricate footwork accompanied by ankle bells and with an emphasis on storytelling. The second half of the bill is titled Timeless, which takes Kathak and contemporises it to create a new choreographic language (Sept 28-29).

Indian culture is particularly celebrated in the music program with concerts by Kailash Kher (billed as a mega-star) and his eight piece band Kailasa which combines “spiritual Sufi chants, Rajasthani Gypsy rhythms and Punjabi dance fused with electric guitar and modern beats” (website, Sept 29). Australian saxophonist Sandy Evans and bass player Brett Hirst will collaborate with Indian musicians—singer and sitar player Sarangan Sriranganathan and tabla player Bobby Singh—to create a fusion of jazz and traditional Indian styles (Sept 22).

Peer Gynt, Yohangza Theatre Company Peer Gynt, Yohangza Theatre Company
courtesy OzAsia Festival
Aside from the Indian focus there's also a range of performances from other Asian countries. Returning to the festival after a successful season with Hamlet in 2010 will be Korea’s Yohangza Theatre Company presenting the Ibsen classic Peer Gynt (Sept 19-21). In Cambodia Sun Rising, in which children from the Sunrise Children’s Village (set up by Geraldine Cox for orphaned and disadvantaged children) tell the history of Cambodia, interwoven with their own experiences and accompanied by traditional dance from the Royal Court of Angkor Wat (Sept 27-28).

Further music highlights include the Martial Arts Trilogy, a concert of cinema music by Tan Dun, composer for films such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Sept 22-23). Tan Dun has also been involved in mentoring young composers—Tristan Coelho, Melody Eotvos, Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh, Christopher Larkin, Lachlan Skipworth and Timothy Tate—whose works will feature in an evening of short works titled Crouching Tigers (Sept 23).

Ramta Drig, community Installation,  Jalap Bawdi, Jodhpur Ramta Drig, community Installation, Jalap Bawdi, Jodhpur
photo Devesh Kalla
The visual arts program is also impressive. Ramta Drig, an artist collective including Indian poet and painter Amit Kalla, columnist for the Hindustan Times Himanshu Vyas and local artist Daniel Connell will be in residence in the Festival Centre's Artspace Gallery creating an installation drawing on the “wisdom, wit, narratives and struggles of Indian migrants” (press release). At the Anne & Gordan Samstag Museum of Art (UniSA) is Beyond the Self: Contemporary Portraiture from Asia, which presents works across a range of media by artists from Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines produced by the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra (Aug 3-Sept 30, see in the loop quick picks for more on NPG).

At the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA), The Needle on the Gauge, curated by Ranjit Hoskote, will feature seven Indian artists “working with avatars, the extension of photographic images, documentary projects, performance-based work, posters and blogs to depict India’s crises and afflictions” (press release; Sept 5-Oct 21). And at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Teeth of the Rice Plant features political art from Indonesia and China (June 8-Dec 2).

Of course no OzAsia Festival is complete without films, food, forums and an outdoor spectacle—this year’s closing event is a Moon Lantern Festival taking place under the full moon in Elder Park (Sept 30).

Adelaide Festival Centre: OzAsia, Sept 14-30 (some exhibitions run longer);

RealTime issue #110 Aug-Sept 2012 pg. web

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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