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Canberra Today 13°/15° | Wednesday, November 29, 2023 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Arts / Exploring the art of ‘Climax’ – and fun!

An artist at work at the Artery on the Edinburgh Avenue stone wall.  Photo by Martin Ollman

WITH the bold theme of “Climax”, this month the day-long Art Not Apart festival thunders into action for the eighth time, while also cementing the position of NewActon as a hub of culture.

It always pays to investigate the name of a festival carefully and, taken from the position espoused by philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Luc Nancy, Art not Apart means what it says – art is not apart from society.

The event is now in its second year of a four-year funding agreement from the ACT government and its A-list team of youthful arts community leaders is brimming with enthusiasm.

Anna Trundle is program manager; Chenoeh Miller, performance art curator; Frank Madrid, music curator; Byrd, street art curator; Sam Dignand, film and moving-image curator and Kirsten Farrell, the visual art curator, all under the watchful eye of David Caffery as producer and Michael Liu as compliance and marketing officer.

With the containers of Westside precinct long gone, the geographical reach of the festival has now turned north, expanding towards the National Film and Sound Archive and the Australian Academy of Science Shine Dome.

For the second year running the Edinburgh Avenue stone wall, in front of the Shine Dome, will be home to the Artery, 100 metres of Canberra street art curated by street art curator Dan Maginnity and the artworks will remain mounted on the wall until the end of April.

And in an arts-science hook-up, Yarringan’s Digester, a biochemical machine, will take food waste from the festival area and convert it into biogas for use on the day to power barbecues.

Elsewhere, Liu says, visual arts will be represented by “everything from self-destructing to evolving artworks,” but in the super-trendy Nishi Gallery facing the cinemas, an exhibition titled “Climax” will feature work by Naomi Hamer, Tom Buckland and SA Adair.

The NewActon precinct’s “alleyways” surrounding the different buildings and restaurants, will be the setting for 70 stalls selling handmade arts and crafts, vintage goods and the Suitcase Rummage where, for $25, artists can rent a space and sell their work out of suitcases.

Musicians YuNiOn at the Nishi staircase. Photo by Victor Tawagi

In “The Mermaid”, well-known theatre artist Hanna Cormick will air her first work as a disabled artist as she “re-contextualises” her wheelchair, braces, respirator mask and oxygen tank in light of the planet’s sickness.

Music curator Madrid has put together what Liu is calling a “smorgasbord of eclectic sounds”, engaging the Balkan gypsy group Nadya and Zoran’s 101 Candles Orkestra as well as the Yorta Yorta blues-root-soul singer from Echuca, Benny Walker and plenty of local acts.

Apart from art, Art Not Apart is all about having fun and there will be two after-parties. Sound and Fury plans to “ignite” the National Film and Sound Archive with music, theatre, dance, spoken word and song, then the sun will come up with a warehouse party presenting the best of electronic culture and projections.

As for the theme, “Climax” – you may think you know what that means, but the festival’s organiser has higher ideas, saying that it “speaks to the intensity of today, climate change and many global tipping points”.

2018 Art Not Apart Festival, NewActon, the Shine Dome and NFSA, 1pm-7pm, Saturday, March 17. Program details at

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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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