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Focus on Asia generates a vibrant cultural exchange

19 Oct 2016

This content is tagged as Multi-Artform .


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Photographers Emily Mafile'o, Russell Flatt, curator Rosanna Raymond and Raymond Sagapolutele.

Festivals and art institutions in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China and Singapore are inviting New Zealand artists to collaborate, develop their networks and present their work to audiences in the region as a result of Creative New Zealand’s Focus on Asia initiative.

“Arts activity across Asia is vibrant, collaborative and diverse, and we want to continue to be a part of it. By offering New Zealand artists the opportunity to continue to develop their practice and build professional networks in the region enriches our arts offering as well as attracting new audiences,” says Creative New Zealand Chair Dick Grant.

Focus on Asia gives our artists opportunities to create new work for audiences in Asia, present new work in Asia and exchange artistic and cultural practices. We also develop audiences, markets and networks for New Zealand arts in specific Asian countries. In partnership with Asia New Zealand Foundation, we host festival directors, presenters and curators in Aotearoa so they gain a greater understanding of our unique cultural and artistic practice,” says Creative New Zealand Senior Manager for International Cath Cardiff.

Sriwhana Spong in Singapore

Sriwhana Spong and Maria Taniguchi: Oceanic feeling, installation view, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts, 2016. Photo: truphotos.com

Exhibition Sriwhana Spong and Maria Taniguchi: Oceanic feeling at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Singapore is the first major survey of New Zealand artist Sriwhana Spong’s and Filipina artist Maria Taniguchi’s decade-long practices. The exhibition reflects on both artists’ concerns with material, technological and natural processes, through sculpture, painting, film and video, and performance.

“The support I received from Creative New Zealand enabled me to present new work as part of the ten year survey. It was an opportunity for a fresh reading of my practice with an audience who has not been exposed to my work and its history before,” says Sriwhana.

Pango photograph Charles Howells, Art Direction by Osborne Shiwan

Atamira Dance Company’s Artistic Director Moss Patterson will take six male dancers from Wellington and Auckland, many of whom have never left New Zealand, to perform Pango at Taiwan’s Pulima Art Festival and China’s Guangdong Dance Festival. Moss describes the process of creating Pango as experimental, collaborative and challenging.

“Nothing has been imposed on the dancers. The initial interpretive approach has given them the freedom they need to take themselves to a beautiful place,” says Moss. This is the second time Moss has taken Atamira Dance Company to Asia. In 2014 Moko, a dance that transposed traditional Māori tattoo into modern movement, resulted in an invitation to return and there is a new dance, Awa, in development.

Rosanna Raymond, curator of the New Zealand exhibition which comprised of 80 large scale works from Māori and Pacific photographers at China’s Pingyao International Photography Festival, says the reaction from audiences more than overcame the language barrier. 

Photographers Russ Flatt and Raymond Sagapolutele made an impact in the 2000 year old fortress city of Shanxi attracting capacity audiences to their floor talks.

 “The chance to network, build alliances and make connections with other curators from Asia, South Africa, Cuba, Venezuela and Australia was invaluable and has already led to new opportunities for international exhibitions,” says Rosanna.

The invitation to exhibit at the renowned photography festival was received independently of Focus on Asia by the Auckland Festival of Photography. It was supported by two successful Quick Response Grants for the development and presentation of the exhibition.

Performing Arts Presentations

Visual Arts Presentations

Performing arts producers will attend arts markets in Seoul and Shanghai during October 2016 to build networks, research markets, and explore presentation and/or collaboration opportunities. They are supported under the Asian Performing Arts Markets Travel Fund.

Industry Gatherings

Performing Arts Market Seoul, Korea, Oct 3 – 8

  • Atamira Dance Company
  • New Zealand Dance Company
  • Red Leap
  • Tihi Ltd

China Shanghai Performing Arts Market, Shanghai, China, Oct 11 – 16

  • Modern Maori Quartet
  • The New Zealand Dance Company

The artists have been supported by Focus on Asia, International Presentation Fund, Arts Grants/Quick response, Asia Co-commissioning Fund, and Artist residencies in Asia which are delivered in conjunction with Asia New Zealand Foundation.