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International arts body

Page history last edited by Alison Croggon 16 years, 1 month ago

Hi Alison,


Long time between drinks as they say in the current although somewhat 

nostalgically cute vernacular. Great that you are representing us!

I would like to respond to the international section from a personal 



I think an Australian body like the Goethe Institute, the British 

Council or the Japan Foundation would be a wonderful thing.

Aside from the obvious exposure of Australian culture overseas and 

making Australia a place international artists may be interested to 

visit, culture is an excellent and fascinating way to permeate mutual 

borders of language, territory and culture.


From the experience of having toured with Gekidan Kaitaisha for 5 

years to some of the high profile, engaged and stimulating theatre 

festivals in Europe, UK, US, the Middle East and Asia, I was impressed 

by the extent of the contacts and networks the Japan Foundation had 

made, the commitment they had to celebrating their artists and to the 

specific knowledge of the cultures they had posts in.


This was even more impressive considering the radical and 

uncompromising style of performance Kaitaisha are engaged in. In this 

case, it did not seem that this art was used as a megaphone for 

celebrating a wholesome national image or a lubricant for business. 

And yet, sensitive areas exist. Recently Yasukuni, a film about 

Japan's controversial shrine for its fallen soldiers, has received 

censorship within Japan. Art is the site for the construction, the 

making of, a culture. And in a progressive culture, it should be a 

contested site. With this contestation, the world becomes aware of and 

interested in the culture's issues. The audience expands.


We can be doing the same with our culture. It is exasperating to say 

the least, to return to Australia after these experiences to find a 

mild environment for work when we should be rigorously engaging with 

the issues that affect us all, which we will be remembered for.

This is not only the result of lack of funding, lazy criticism and 

discouraged arts education. Nor is it the complacent consumption of 

our festivals of international work brought to us at great expense 

while we starve our own artists of the opportunities and conditions to 

make equally high quality work. With exception, it is also because 

artists have succumbed to tepid compromise in their own work within a 

culture that lacks the confidence to express its own ideas in its own 

way. With the great depth of talent in this unusual country which, 

young and old, will flower if given the right nutrients, about now 

seems the time for a change.


Adam Broinowski


PhD Candidate University of Melbourne

(Centre For Ideas/School of Historical Studies)

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