THERE’S nothing tame about any of these electrifying arts events, yet nothing self-aggrandising. All were created by artists at the very peak of their practice, these exhibitions, concerts and shows thrilled, shocked and, above all, engaged with viewers and listeners. They all really meant something.
- “RED”, Liz Lea, at QL2 Theatre, Gorman Arts Centre, March: “CityNews” Artist of the Year 2017, dancer Liz Lea performed works by herself and other choreographers to illuminate through comedy and burlesque a painful medical condition.
- “Another Day in Paradise”, paintings by Myuran Sukumaran, Tuggeranong Arts Centre, March-April: Myuran Sukumaran, one of the “Bali Nine”, had been long-executed by the time his poignant and provocative exhibition was hung, evoking a sense of hope and reconciliation along with the sense of futility at a life wasted.
- “Beowulf”, Benjamin Bagby, Fitters’ Workshop, for Canberra International Music Festival, May: English bard Benjamin Bagby showed us, in Anglo-Saxon (with surtitles) of all things, what storytelling could be, reaching deep into our collective unconscious with his terrifying account of the hero who slaughters a monstrous cannibal.
- “Tao Po: is anybody home?” The Street Theatre, September: In “Tao Po”, Filipina political satirist and stand-up comedienne Mae Paner left the audience dumbstruck by her close-up and personal portrayal of victims and one perpetrator of what all Filipinos know as “EJK” – Extra Judicial Killings.
- “The Diggers’ Requiem”, Llewellyn Hall, October: Grandiose in scale, Christopher Latham’s musical tribute to the Aussie Diggers of World War I brought six composers, solo and choral singers and instrumentalists together to create a profoundly moving concert.