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The Australia Council for the Arts is offering Australian artists the opportunity to create and present new work with other arts professionals in Asia.

Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski said the Creative Partnerships with Asia Program, now in its second year, is an important part of the Council’s strategy to build creative partnerships and increase artistic collaborations with Asia.

The program is designed to facilitate creative exchanges and collaborations between Australian and Asian artists in all artforms, including emerging and experimental arts, Mr Grybowski said.

Grants of up to $40,000 will enable new work to be created and presented to audiences in both regions and support long-term networks.

Eligible projects must achieve at least two objectives deliver workshops that enable artistic exchange and develop networks in both countries; presentation in both countries of final development showings or a program of open studio visits with curators or potential presenting partners; or showing completed work in both countries.

A presentation can be a publication of new writing, a season of live performance, a visual art exhibition or the release of recordings. It is not for supporting works in repertoire or touring existing works.

A number of dynamic partnerships were developed in the first year of the program. Once such project was the innovative collaboration between Melbourne composers and visual arts group Slave Pianos and Indonesian multi-disciplinary art collective Punkasila.

The artists produced The Lepidopters, a science fiction space opera about alien moths that invade the Indonesian archipelago to colonise Earth through inter-species reproduction.

It is based on a comic book, written by science fiction writer Mark von Schlegell and illustrated by Punkasila bassist Iwank, with music composed by Slave Pianos and Punkasila.

The piece was performed for the first time at MONA MOFO earlier this month by Punkasila band members, along with concert pianist Michael Kieran Harvey and Indonesian singer Rachel Sarawati. The performance included animated projections on a screen behind them.

Slave Pianos member Neil Kelly said the collaboration came about after fellow group member Danius Kesminas undertook a three-month Asialink residency in Yogyakarta and formed Punkasila with the Indonesians.

We’ve had a relationship with Punkasila for a few years, but I doubt this project would have happened without the Creative Asia grant, Mr Kelly said.

The Lepidopters was their first project together, but Mr Kelly is confident the collaborations will be ongoing.

It’s been incredibly fruitful we’ve had new challenges, like attempting to integrate different tuning systems, and we’ve developed fantastic friendships. They’re very hard working artists, Mr Kelly said.

Any collaboration with artists across borders is a really brilliant idea, particularly given our close relationship with Indonesia.

The Lepidopters will be performed in Indonesia in March and again in Australia with the Astra Choir at Arts House, Melbourne on 12 and 13 April.



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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